Green Your Office
The office is the easiest place to begin making a positive impact to reduce energy consumption and reduce waste through less packaging, no disposables and paper reduction. Faculty and staff can be provided with regular, friendly reminders to take action in each of the categories noted below.
Motivation, Education and Action
Usually there are a few in each department that have already incorporated “green” behaviors on a daily basis, both at home and at work. These folks are ideal to be the “eco-rep” for your department. They can chair a group in charge of activities the whole office can get involved in:
- Head up a small group to meet and plan the “green office” vision and strategies
- The group can meet quarterly to check in and discuss progress
- The group should establish and maintain a partnership with Loyola’s Office of Sustainability for guidance and updates on the “latest and greatest” techniques to reduce consumption and green the office
- Organize a fall and spring charitable donation drive in your department
- Get involved by volunteering at campus events, trips and committees to advance environmental sustainability at Loyola.
The Office of Sustainability will provide monthly themes to educate and inform on topics such as energy, water, food, waste, recycling and more. These messages can be incorporated in friendly emails, informative lunch gatherings and postings.
Sign up to receive online resources and higher education sustainability news at the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
From your department's home page, link to Loyola’s Office of Sustainability
Turn the lights off when not in use during the day and at night, including common areas.
If able to do so, use natural daylight and switch off the lights.
Use desk lamps instead of ceiling lights.
Set the computer power setting to turn the monitor off after 5 minutes of inactivity and put it to sleep after 10 minutes. This helps reduce energy usage by 95%.
Avoid the computer screen saver—use the "sleep mode," which uses less energy than the screen saver.
Use smart power strips as central turn-off points at each work station and switch them off each night, and before heading out for the weekend, vacations and holiday breaks.
Microwaves, coffee makers and appliances are unplugged at night or can be programmed to shut off through a timer.
Purchase materials, such as paper, made from high post-consumer recycled content.
Purchase and use refillable pens and pencils.
Need Furniture? Check in with Loyola's Purchasing Department for any surplus or used items before buying new items.
Check Loyola's Iggy’s list for items available for trade or resale, or post your own unwanted supplies there.
Each person has their own pair of scissors, stapler and printer? Why? Identify supplies and equipment which can be shared.
Computers, printers, copiers: Loyola’s ITS has energy saving standards for equipment. Please go through the proper channels to purchase according to ITS guidelines.
- Did you know that Loyola’s ITS has received several energy efficiency awards?
Appliances: Choose the “Energy Star” certified models.
Use environmentally-friendly, phosphate free dish detergent and non-aerosol sprays.
Avoid purchasing paper towels and napkins (not recyclable). However if you must, please purchase unbleached and/or chlorine free products.
Achieve ZERO Waste
The first “R” in “RRR” is Reduce. Start with that first “R” and REDUCE. After that, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Producing new products requires energy, water and is overall resource intensive. That’s why reduce, reuse and recycle is the easiest approach to cut back on unnecessary purchasing.
Bring in reusable plates, cups, glasses, utensils and cloth napkins for lunch and snacks. Staff can keep them at their work areas or if there is a departmental kitchen, store them in the kitchen.
- Most people have extra serving ware that is chipped or a mismatch which can be used at the office
- Another option is to check out the local thrift store for very inexpensive items.
- Have extras available for visitor use
Keep a travel mug handy for those coffee/tea runs.
Do not purchase bottled water. If you have a kitchen, departments can budget for a water cooler which filters water from the tap.
- If no kitchen, stretch those legs and take a short walk to the nearest water fountain or refill station
Waste Reduction Strategies
Set up a central location for trash and recycling bins and remove deskside bins. People become more aware of the items they use briefly that end up in the landfill. Besides, it is another way to take a walk and burn some calories.
Scan documents for electronic distribution and storage.
- Purchase printers with capabilities for duplex printing
- Set documents to print duplex or "double-sided" printing as the default
- Set documents to print in "toner saving mode".
- Set document margins to smaller margins.
Set up a “reuse paper” station for staff to use as scratch paper and to print drafts or other documents not intended as final versions.
Set up a designated area for office supplies that can be shared and reused (pens, clips, folders, etc.) and promote.
Recycling replaces virgin material production and greatly reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. At Loyola, we make it easy to recycle.
The Loyola recycling webpage LUC.edu/recycle has all the information you need to successfully recycle in your office.
Ensure electronics are recycled according to Loyola’s ITS department.
- Send an email to the ITS Help Desk and request assistance with Loyola owned electronics that need to be recycled.
For small personal electronics and batteries, drop off at the locations available to collect items for recycling at both lakeside campuses.
Recycle empty toner cartridges from network printers and copy machines.
- Ricoh toners – set up a collection box in your department and contact the Loyola Mailroom to arrange for pickup and recycling.
- All other printer cartridges such as HP, Dell generally come with a return-paid shipping label. They need those resources! Or they can be downloaded from their websites.
Food, Coffee/ Tea and Catered Events
Make yourself lunch, and bring it in reusable containers instead of plastic baggies.
Purchase fair-trade, locally roasted or shade grown coffee/teas for the department.
Use coffee/tea makers that do not require disposable filters or individual style packets.
Catering an event or meeting? Check out the Green Event Planning Guide and Checklist.
Have a southern exposure in your department or office windows? Set up a mini-herb planter garden and encourage colleagues to take a snip of herbs for home meals. There must be someone in your department with a “green” thumb.
Hold monthly informal brown bag lunches with meals with a seasonal and local food focus.
To and from the office, Loyola’s transportation options are a great way to cut your impact from driving, not to mention driving's impact of stress and tension on you.
Organize a "Transportation Quality of Life" day each week. Those that can bike should cycle to the office. Those that can use modes of transportation other than a car should take transit. (All that reading you would like to do but do not have time for? Taking transit gives you back time to relax and read!)
Carpooling can be organized amongst office members.