Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Green Challenge

Today I got off my big, padded bum and did something really green…I went outside and helped pick up garbage from the company property. I was disappointed that we didn’t have many people volunteer, but then again, this is the Land of Lazy. I was also surprised that most of the people helping were from the manufacturing floor. Why was I surprised? I blame them for the mess. I know that there aren’t any office people waddling outside to smoke (against policy anyway) or take their breaks. We are directly on a lake, plus we have two ponds out front. People from the floor take their breaks on the hill and throw their garbage into the ponds – seriously. Here are these poor ducks, birds, geese, frogs and everything else that has had its home confined by industrialism to a small pond off the freeway. And that’s not good enough for these selfish pricks…they have to throw their garbage into the tiny preserve just to screw them a little more.

Ahem. My point was that it was good to see people from the “other side” pitch in and not just slink back into the stereotype they’ve earned. It was a reminder to me that everyone is an individual. That everyone makes their own choices, regardless of what group they are in.

I’m left with the high I got from being paid to be outside during the workday. I’m energized. I’m happy to know that I got all those plastic bags and wrappers away from where the ducks will be nesting soon.

The Green Challenge this week has to do with the office and will be part a short series (these corporations are like Environmental MONSTERS – just can’t fit it into one challenge). For my loverly SAH readers, I realize these tips aren’t going to impact your life heavily, but you have that beautiful voice to share the information with people for whom it will. Riiight? Right!

I think the obvious spot to start would be paper consumption. Each year, Americans trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from New York to Los Angeles!*. Trash. As in, goes to the DUMP.

The best solution would be to use recycled paper. Producing white recycled paper creates 74% less water pollutants and 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers*. That’s a LOT! However, recycled paper costs slightly more than the regular stuff, so most companies would be against this. Even if we can’t change the mind of a corporation, we can change our habits.

Top Things You Can Do To Save Paper:

1. Check print margins – don’t print unnecessary pages. I do this most often when printing from the internet – you know how they always make you print that last sheet with all their fine print and “Contact Us” links?

2. Double-side your copies – I have to make copies of every document I process because for some reason, we need TWO paper copies filed along with the electronic version, so this really helps me out. I’m trying to get that copier set up as my printer so I can PRINT double-sided as well.

3. Re-use scrap paper - Confession: I was a Post-It Note whore. I collected them. Pink, blue, green, yellow…if they ordered it, I was all over it. But then I had one of my little eco-epiphanies: I can’t recycle them. Our office only recycles white paper. So when my Post-Its ran out, I moved on to scrap paper. I have one of those people in my department who doesn’t EVER check their Print Preview and ends up with about 25 pages of waste a DAY. When I’m out of scrap paper, I just grab a handful, head over to the paper cutter and chop it up. Of course, nobody else double-sides their prints, so I’m guaranteed a clean side. Bonus, huh??

4. Lastly, of course: Recycle it when you’re done.

*Facts from www.CleanAir.org


Brillig said...

You know, as one of your SAH readers, I can TOTALLY implement your challenge today. I print a ton of stuff off on my computer. My kids are constantly stealing paper to draw on, etc. There's a lot I can do here. And I will! (Have I ever told you how much I look forward to your Green Challenges? You make me think of things that I just take completely for granted. I don't wanna be that person. Thanks for helping me to do better!)

Sugar Kane said...

Hi. My name is Sugar Kane, and I'm a paper whore. Post its, legal pads, I love them all. We've been seeing less and less of each other lately, and you know what? It feels pretty good.

Brillig is right. The Green Challenges are fantastic!

Kelly said...

I am a SAH, but when I was working I believed that my company did used recycled paper. And I quit working 8 years ago. Pretty good, huh? Especially for an oil company.

Thanks for the tips.

Sugar Kane said...

I checked the margin settings before printing some stuff today. Go Me!

sillychick said...

Thanks for the paper tips!

~paper 'ho

I nominated you over at my rants blog, btw