How to Green Your Home Office

Green Home Office Behaviors

A great place to start greening your everyday behavior is to think about the cycle of waste reduction -- reduce, reuse, recycle. In 1960, 88 million tons of garbage were thrown away. In 2005, that number was upwards of 245 million tons [source: Hill]. Our throwaway culture has created a heavy burden on our environment in the form of landfills, so reduce is first on the list, because eliminating waste is the ideal. Going paperless is the best option, but not practical for everyone. The next step is to reuse, which includes tasks like printing on both sides of a sheet of paper, saving paperclips, rubber bands and file folders to use again, and choosing refillable pens and ink cartridges rather than buying new ones. Given the hefty amount of packaging that so many supplies come in, you may even find clever ways to use it as storage. And then there's recycling. If you set aside containers labeled specifically for this purpose, recycling easily becomes a habit, just like drinking your morning coffee. So many things can be recycled these days -- junk mail, white paper, cardboard and packaging materials, and even ink cartridges. In fact, many manufacturers of ink cartridges will pay you money or give you a credit toward your next ink purchase if you send the cartridges back to them.

Another important item for green living is clean air. According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air, and paints and finishes are two of the main culprits [source: Eartheasy]. This is because they release low level toxins for years after they're applied. In addition to choosing low-VOC paints, there are several other things you can do to improve your indoor air quality. Find out what they are on the next page.