Hughes Marino East BayThese days, more people are doing their part to save the planet, even businesses. In fact, “going green” is one of the most popular catchphrases of the last year. When a company moves to a new location, it often takes the opportunity to transition into the greener way of doing things.

Even if a business does not have a totally green relocation, it is still possible to go green at the office after a move. Here are some easy going green tips for the office that businesses can follow to get started right away.

1. Install Energy Efficient Lighting

Energy efficient light bulbs may be more expensive to purchase, but they last a lot longer (about ten times longer) than traditional incandescent bulbs and they use about 75% less energy. To top it off, they create less heat, so cooling costs will go down.

2. Go Paperless

While it may be impossible for a company to go completely paperless, it is beneficial to transition as much as possible. Store information electronically and take advantage of the extra space where the filing cabinets would go. When you do have to print items, try printing on both sides and use only post-consumer recycled paper.

3. Recycle

Although your business may recycle, once you move to a new location, make sure everyone is on board. Add recycling bins throughout the office for plastic, paper, and aluminum. Set old electronic equipment aside for proper recycling and purchase recycled paper products.

4. Recycle More

More is being recycled today than just paper. Why not look into purchasing recycled toner cartridges or a used printer or computer? If you must buy new, look for printers, computers, and scanners that are Energy Star certified. An Energy Star certified computer, for example, can be 50% more efficient than your standard unit.

5. Turn Off Computers and Lights Nightly

One of the largest users of energy is your computer even when it’s not being used and is just on. A simple thing like remembering to turn off the lights can really save electricity – especially in larger spaces!

6. Get Rid of the Fax Machine Entirely

Use an Internet fax service instead. And when you receive a fax via an online fax service, remember to save the e-mail and the fax on your hard drive. Print it only if absolutely necessary.

7. Use Reusables

From impromptu lunch outings and office birthday parties to lunch-break errands and shopping trips, there are loads of opportunities to get stuck with single-use products during your workday. Reduce the number of disposable plates, cups, and silverware you use.

8. Make It Personal

Sharing eco-minded ideas with coworkers is a great way to make sure your whole office gets in on the waste-reducing action. Bringing your own lunch and snacks to the office in reusable containers not only reduces packaging waste, but can also put thousands of dollars back into your pocket annually. Try giving out reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and shopping bags at the office on holidays to encourage fellow employees to reduce waste. Or send out a mass e-mail about useful file-sharing tools to remind coworkers of alternatives to printing.

When discussing your values with co-workers, remember to frame the conversation as offering information, not berating their habits. For example, if you notice your co-workers tossing their plastic bottles in the trash, politely telling them about a recycling bin in the next room may yield far better results than berating them about their disposal habits. With the right approach, you can get everyone in your office excited about going green.