When you ditch the desk top, do it the right way.
Computers have dangerous metals in the circuits, and if you dump the machine, the metals leak into the land, and eventually your water.
"Anything that's got a board in it," said Professor Mark Schneegurt of Wichita State University. "That board's been treated in order to lay down the circuits, has been treated with metals. and needs to be, and would constitute, a form of hazardous waste. There's lots of source of metals in the environment. This is one that you can easily take care of."
Now onto paper.
"A stack of 7 inches of paper equals one saved tree," said Bronleewe. "So it doesn't take a lot to save trees, just by recycling."
Here's an easy paper solution the KWCH Storm Team department uses. If you're just using the paper for the office, flip it over and print on the other side. You get double the paper, and you save a lot of trees.
And now, the coffee break conundrum. "People use,," said Bronleewe, "over 250 plastic or styrofoam cups every year at their office. And all of that ends up going to the landfill, because you can't recycle styrofoam."
So instead of using the disposable cups the company supplies, bring your own coffee mug from home. Not only can you reuse it and save the environment, the mug holds more coffee.
The Valley Center Wal-Mart is the second generation of High Efficency Wal-Marts. It's the first of it's kind in Kansas, and the second in the nation.
And in it's break room, you'll find coffee mug hooks and recycling bins. The store uses sky lights along with it's fluorescent lighting, and if the sun's bright enough, the fluorescent overhead lights turn off. The display lights in the freezer section turn off when no one's around, and come on when someone is.
Store manager Mike Coughlin is proud of store 4321, and hopes it's eco-awareness sparks a chain reaction. "I think the more we can do - to not just bring down cost for us but bring cost down for everybody- will hopefully drive that through all levels of retail and other businesses."
And if Wal-Mart - a global corporation - is making global changes, your office can too.
Here are some more ideas from Tonya Bronleewe of Sedgwick County Extension:
- Out Like A Light. Just turning off your computer at night can save thousands of tons of Carbon Dioxide from being emmitted into the atmosphere, from the electricty they use just by staying in the sleep mode throughout the year. Turn off your computers overnight at your office, and the lights. Even if you just leave your office for an hour for lunch. You can turn off your light, you're saving energy. Convince your bosses to buy the compact flourescent light bulbs. It's a tough sell sometimes, because they are more expensive, but they'll last way longer. 20
- Log On With a Laptop, and Sleep with a Laptop. Laptops use less energy. Their screens use less energy. But if you have to use a computer, you have to use a computer. But we don't have to leave them on all the time. If you have a choice between a desk top computer and a lap top computer, laptop's the more efficient choice.
- A bright idea. Convince your bosses to buy the compact flourescent light bulbs. It's a tough sell sometimes, because they are more expensive, but they'll last way longer. According to the Global Warming Survival Handbook, if each American household replaced at least 1 of their incandescent bulbs with a CFL bulb, it would prevent the equivalent of the annual emissions of 800,000 cars.