Eco-Friendly Offices

Small actions repeated every day can significantly reduce the environmental impact of our work. Similarly what we buy multiplied by the many offices across campus can reduce impacts both on campus and up the supply chain.

Precycle . . . Stop waste at its source.

  • Buy and use paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Look for products with minimal packaging. For many products buying larger sizes means less packaging waste, but make sure you can use the larger quantity in a reasonable time period.
  • Invest in equipment and furniture which is high in quality, and is durable and repairable. Check with Facilities Management for appropriate purchases.
  • Don't buy paper that is a contaminant in recycling, [e.g., thermal fax paper, glossy/plastic coatings, plastic windows in envelopes, bright colors including goldenrod, laser printer inks, and adhesive products].

Reuse . . . Choose the reusable alternative to disposable products.

  • Collect paper that has been used on one side and reuse as scratch paper.
  • Reuse envelopes by placing a label over the old address or for larger envelopes, make them into "Inter-Office" envelopes by attaching this address sheet (PDF). 
  • Reuse boxes, mailing tubes, and Styrofoam "peanuts".
  • Bring reusable dishes, mugs/cups and silverware to the office instead of disposables.


  • Set up files to save e-mails instead of printing them out.
  • Proof documents on screen and preview before printing.
  • Use print preview to avoid printing extra pages at the end of the document or having to reprint due to unacceptable page breaks.
  • When copying multiple page documents, make 2-sided copies.
  • If your printer has a duplexer, set it as the default. If you don't have a duplexer, ask LITS for information on availability for your printer.
  • Post announcements on bulletin boards or circulate around the office.
  • Circulate memos, reports and publications.
  • When sending announcements to the campus, send one copy per office instead of copies to individual employees.
  • When laying out publications that will be printed, single space and minimize other blank space to reduce the length of the document.
  • Avoid using cover sheets on faxes.
  • When copying make the minimum you will need, and come back to make more if necessary.
  • Set up computers to automatically print two-sided.
  • Remove duplicate names and out-of-date entries from mailing lists.
  • Take steps to reduce unsolicited mail. To reduce junk mail to employees who are no longer at the College, check out the Ecological Mail Coalition service.
  • Design mailers which avoid the use of envelopes [fold and staple the paper].


  • Make sure everyone in your office/department has a paper recycling bin in their office and knows where to empty it in your building.
  • Send laser jet toner cartridges to the Facilities Management Stockroom for recycling.
  • Recycle inkjet cartridges are located in Blanchard near the Info Desk and at LITS in the MEWS by the printer station. Inkjet cartridges can also be sent via campus mail to the Facilities Management Stockroom..
  • If you have batteries to recycle, you can tape the terminals with duct or packing tape or put individually in a small plastic bag. Collect them in your office until you have 20 or 30 and then contact EHS&S for pick-up.
  • For additional information on what can be recycled.


  • Artificial light accounts for over 40% of electricity use in office buildings. Use natural light when you can and turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • At the end of the day, turn off all office equipment including computers, copiers, and printers.
  • Leave off lights and electronic equipment until needed, also don't turn on all computers in the beginning of the day, turn them on as needed.
  • Set computer monitors to energy saving mode so they go to sleep after 20 minutes of non-use. Settings are found at control panel/display/screen saver, or use the Wizard.
  • Buy Energy Star rated light bulbs and fixtures. Compact fluorescents last for up to 10 years and use 75% less energy.
  • During breaks, unplug refrigerators and other electronic equipment, turn off all lights, and make sure all windows are closed.
  • If you have a window unit air conditioner, shut it off at the end of the day.
  • Read additional information on energy use and conservation on campus.