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Many, many of us have been working from home for the last 6 months. You likely gathered what you had to work with at home and threw together a place to work.
In this post, I’ll share some simple ways you can create an eco-friendly home workspace you can settle into and make official!
Even though much of your work is likely done electronically chance are you still need to print from time to time. Or maybe your home workspace does double duty as a school workspace as well and your kids are printing out school work?
In either case, an easy swap to make is with your printer paper. Instead of choosing any old printer paper, choose one that is made from recycled paper – and the higher percentage the better.
Choosing recycled printer paper means fewer natural resources (aka trees) were used to make the paper and that used paper is re-used (aka recycled) to make new paper.
Recycled printer paper is widely available in office supply stores and online. I like this one from Hammermill. Not only is it made from recycled paper but it is also Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
I don’t know about you but I’m always toting around some sort of notebook with me all over the house and even when I go out. You never know when you’re going to need to jot down an idea or take notes from a work call.
A friend told me about this (I think) super cool notebook that helps cut down on paper use (and waste) and can help keep all those notes and scribbles organized!
The Rocketbook is a smart notebook that allows you to upload your handwritten notes using an app to be stored and organized. And the best part is that the pages are reusable! After uploading (if you want to save what you’ve written) you simply wipe the page clean to use again. I LOVE this!
No office or home workspace is complete without sticky notes, right?
The good news is that 3M Post-It notes can be recycled. In fact, the company even tested it out to make sure the adhesive wouldn’t interfere with the recycling process.
The better news is that you can go a step further and go with a sticky note that is made from recycled paper AND uses a plant-based adhesive. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Check out these Post-it Greener Notes from 3M:
One other sticky note option is to go with these mcSquares Stickies Dry-Erase Sticky Notes. They are reusable, re-stickable whiteboard stickies. So cool!
One of the pricier but worth it supply swaps is to opt for a cartridge-free printer. It cuts down on waste since instead of purchasing (and throwing out or recycling old) cartridges you refill instead.
With this Epson EcoTank you not only reduce waste but also save money on ink.
Take a look around your home workspace right now and check out how many things you have plugged in that are using electricity.
Whatcha got? A monitor (or 2)? How about a printer? A phone charger?
An easy way to “green” your home workspace is by cutting down on the amount of electricity (aka natural resources) you use.
Now I don’t mean you can’t use all of the devices and tools you need BUT you can use them smarter.
If you haven’t already done so, swap out the regular bulbs in your home workspace (and your whole home for that matter!) for LED bulbs instead.
They use MUCH less energy and last a really long time – which helps justify the steeper bulb cost.
If you’ve got perfectly good regular bulbs at the moment, take inventory of what watt and type they are and pick up a pack of an equivalent LED bulbs to have on hand.
Once the regular bulb burns out, you’ll be ready to replace it!
Here’s a great pack to get you started in your home workspace…and beyond!
I bet when you finally call it a day and turn out the lights in your home office you see lots of little lights staring back at you!
All of those little lights are using electricity. And even if you put devices in sleep mode they can still be drawing power – sometimes referred to as vampire power!
An easy way to really power all of it off – and power it back on – is by using a power strip.
There are lots on the market, but I like this 5-star strip from Amazon. It even has USB ports for smartphone charging!
Home Workspace Waste
Any space in your home is bound to create waste. One way to keep as much as you can out of the landfill is to set up a mini recycling sorting center in your workspace.
Not only do we have a recycling sorting center in our kitchen but we also have one in our bathroom. It makes recycling what we use in that space so much easier. And you can do the same in your home workspace!
I use these small bins to sort trash and recyclables. They are the perfect size to fit under your desk or another workspace.
How To Recycle
Speaking of recycling stuff in your home workspace, what can be recycled?
Obvious items like paper – printer, sticky notes, folders, etc. are easy. But what about pens, printer cartridges?
Printer ink cartridges are pretty easy to recycle but probably not in your curbside service. Both Staples and Office Depot accept printer cartridges for drop-off recycling.
Other office supplies are a little more difficult to recycle and all require more effort to make happen.
One option, although pricey, is an office supply Zero Waste Box from Terracycle. Maybe you could get your employer to pay for it? 🙂
If you’re really settling in for the long haul and are ready to create a more permanent workspace – or spruce up an existing one – I wanted to mention a few eco-friendly options.
When it comes to desk accessories and furniture for your home workspace consider the materials used to make the item.
You’ll want to look for sustainably sourced materials if possible or at least stay away from plastic as well as materials that may contain toxins.
This desk organizer from The Container Store is a good choice. It’s made from 70% post-consumer recycled fiberboard and because of this is 100% recyclable. (FYI: Post-Consumer Recycled material is material from products that have been used by consumers and would otherwise be discarded as waste. These materials are recovered through consumer recycling.)
Another good option, because it’s made of steel, is the Silver Mesh desk collection, also from The Container Store.
If you’re in the market for a desk for your home workspace, here are two eco-friendly choices to check out.
The LILLÅSEN is made of bamboo which is a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need to be replanted and doesn’t need to be fertilized reducing the use of pesticides. Ikea’s site states, “More than 90% of the bamboo we use is grown in China, and in 2016, nearly all of it was FSC certified.”
Another desk from Ikea, the VITTSJÖ, is made from steel and glass which avoids any unsustainably sourced wood as well as pressed-wood products that tend to include toxins.
Last is this beautiful desk from West Elm made from sustainably sourced wood in a Fair Trade Certified™ facility.
Get To Work
I’m hoping by sharing these simple swaps you can see how easy it is to do almost anything greener!
Whether you’re in the market for more printer paper or a new desk for your home workspace you’re all set to now do it in a more eco-friendly way!
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