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Garbage Queen says

In the Workplace

In Australia many of us spend a large proportion of our time per week in the workplace. As I often talk about reducing our environmental impact at home, but with so many hours per week spent in our places of work, we should do a bit better there too. A couple of aspects today – paper and cooling in the workplace

Some people might remember that in the late 1980s we were heading for the paperless office – I certainly can – if for no other reason than in the years that followed our paper use went through the roof. When we all started getting emails in the late 90s many people printed everything for a while…well no more…the age of the paperless is now almost possible.

Here is how you do it:

  • Always share documents electronically
  • Never print emails, reports, documents to read and mark up
  • Conduct paper-less meetings  – the tablet is great paper substitute.
  • Use the post-it note function on my computer
  • Disconnect the printer (and hide cords)
  • Reduce the font size and line spacing to reduce page numbers in all documents in-case clients print

Did you know that Australia currently uses around 4 million tonnes of paper and cardboard – equivalent to 183 000 large semi-trailers – but only recycles about half of that?  Of course our aim is to avoid and then reduce before we even get to the recycling component.

But if you have to use paper – recycle it at the end of its life. And use recycled paper.

When it comes to heating and cooling your workplace, you can easily make these systems more energy efficient, saving money and cutting pollution at the same time. How?

  1. Open windows – if you can – instead of using air conditioners. Remember that most air conditioning systems provide less than 10% fresh air (no wonder you often feel sleepy!).
  2. Ensure your climate control systems turn off at the end of each day and on weekends – there’s no point heating and cooling empty offices. Same goes with lights.
  3. Position electrical equipment (eg printers, faxes) away from thermostats to avoid false temperature readings and consequent over-cooling.
  4. Have your heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems regularly serviced to ensure they operate at maximum efficiency. Most air conditioning simultaneously runs heating and cooling processes to try to maintain the often prescribed 22 degrees Celsius.
  5. Remember that horizontal blinds and shading devices are more effective for north facing windows, and vertical blinds are more effective for east and west facing windows to keep heat in or out.