Green Your Job: 5 Easy Eco-Friendly Steps

Last Updated May 17, 2011 9:33 AM EDT

You might be thinking, who has time to worry about the earth while we're at work? Aren't we all just trying to keep our careers on the up and up? Well, the answer is, you really can't afford not to at least put in a good eco effort. Every major corporation is making a green push, and while it's certainly good PR, it's also good business.

"Going green isn't just about saving the environment or saving face, it's about saving money," says green lifestyle expert Sara Snow, author of Sara Snow's Fresh Living. "Every kilowatt of energy you save through better bulbs, unplugged appliances, or programmable thermostats, means actual dollars and cents saved. And that is attractive to employers as well as clients and investors." Here's how to start saving your company money (and saving the environment at the same time):

1. Bring A Better Mug Clearly, toting your own coffee mug is a better idea than using the paper or styrofoam ones your office supplies. Then for birthdays and holidays, share the joy by giving reusable mugs as holiday gifts to your colleagues. "Why not buy one of the refillable, insulated Starbucks mugs (or one from your local coffee chain) made from post consumer recycled waste for those on your gift list?" suggests Snow.

2. Commute Right That means carpooling with cubicle mates, riding your bike, or using public transportation. This is one of the smallest steps that will instantly make a huge difference, says Snow: "You'll spare the environment a pound of harmful CO2 emissions for every mile you don't drive!"

3. Use Print Preview You've already heard of printing double-sided, and yes, that's a savvy step. But take another second and preview the page before you hit print, says Snow, to see if you can fit more content onto one piece of paper by changing font sizes or getting rid of empty space.

4. End "Vampire" Energy Drain Encourage co-workers to turn their computers and other electronics off at night. If you feel foolish, cite this fact and you'll have Corporate making your strategy theirs soon enough: "Vampire, or phantom energy, the energy still drawn from electronics even when they are turned off, costs U.S. consumers as much as $3 billion a year," says Snow.

5. Recycle Your E-waste. "Out of date phones, computers, and more make up one of the fastest growing segments of our waste stream. And each time these electronics head to the landfill they have the potential to leak harmful toxins like lead, mercury, and fire retardants into the soil and water," says Snow. Go to to find a designated drop spot, or start a company recycling drive.

Follow these easy steps and you'll show your company that you're focused on being green, as well as saving them some green.

What eco-friendly steps do you take at work? Please sign in below and share.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including, and and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit