Easy Ways to Make an Impact on Earth Day

earth day impact imageHave you heard the story of 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani, who concluded that the U.S. government could save $136 million annually by simply switching the font used on its official printed documents? It all started as a science fair project to investigate ways his school district could save money and promote sustainability. He showed us how one small change can make a big impact.

Inspired by Suvir, here are a few easy, affordable ways your own office can tweak its printing practices to “go green” for Earth Day – and beyond!

Start Recycling

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker generates around 2 pounds of paper and paperboard products each day. Each day! With that in mind, one of the best things you can do (if you’re not already) is recycle. Check out these tips to get started, and contact your local waste management or garbage disposal provider for programs in your area.

Reset Printer and Copier Defaults

If your office printers and copiers currently default to one-sided color printing, listen up! Unless you really need all documents printed that way, make the change to double-sided, black-and-white printing to use less paper and ink. It should be fairly easy to reset the default options, either directly on the machine itself or within each computer’s printer settings. And, if something needs to be printed in color and/or single-sided, simply change the print or copy settings for that print session only. Compare the next few months’ paper and ink expenditures to previous months to check how much money and materials this one change saves.

Give Your Contacts Something to Ponder

Many people print every email and use the stack as a daily to-do list. But really, one sheet of paper per action item seems excessive. You can help others reconsider their own printing habits by having your employees add this simple line below their email signatures: “Please consider the environment before printing.” It may make some folks think twice before printing something that can just as easily be clicked on when needed.

Commit To Go Paperless

Speaking of not printing every little thing, you could take it one step further by pledging to run a paperless office. Okay, maybe some items will still need to be printed on occasion; but a conscious effort by every employee can help your company trade overflowing file cabinets for easily accessible (and out-of-sight) digital files. Make a plan, assign an individual to oversee the project, and plan to budget both time and money to do some proverbial heavy lifting on the front end. Once that is complete and the office gets in the habit of producing and saving files digitally, it’s smooth sailing toward paperless bliss.

Have you implemented any of the above in your office? Do you have any other “green” tips for Earth Day? Share your ideas in the comments below!