Free + Recyling = Great Idea! 
If you follow us on Twitter (@greenoffice), we posed a question related to our Earth Day blog post about starting small in your green office efforts: What are three green initiatives you can tackle that won’t cost the company any money?

One of the responses was freecycling in the office. That was a great suggestion that got me thinking about ways to engage your co-workers in freecyling.

• Have a book, CD or DVD exchange. Bring in the ones you no longer want and trade them for “new” items. You have new DVDs to watch this weekend and you haven’t spent any money or put trash in the landfill.

• OK, ladies, this one is for you. Just about all of us have been (or will be) invited to a baby shower for a co-worker. What if everyone brought gently used baby items instead of new baby blankets, sleepers and tiny T-shirts. It’s a great way to show the mom-to-be you care about saving the world for a new generation of little ones.

• Gather some co-workers and host a weekend yard sale. Donate the money you make to a local environmental cause or use it to launch some green initiatives in your office, such as giving each employee a reusable shopping bag or coffee mug.

• For the parents in your office, organize a toy swap. Even the most interesting toy loses its appeal after a few weeks, so trade toys with another parent for a month. The kids have something new to play with, you haven’t spent any money, and when the kids get their own toys back next month, it will be like they got something new.

• The same toy swap concept can be applied to adults. Who hasn’t, at some point, used a piece of exercise equipment as a clothing rack or wondered what to do with those roller blades buried in the back of the closet? Trade equipment with a co-worker. Tired of your treadmill? Trade it for a co-worker’s exercise bike – you’re literally freecycling.

Our society tends to have a “throw away and buy new” mentality. Freecycling is a terrific way to reuse perfectly good items while reducing our carbon footprint (just think about the packaging trash you didn’t have to throw away because you got something used instead of something new).

Please share your ideas for how to freecycle in the office. We’d love to share – or in this case, freecycle – more suggestions.

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I can’t remember the last time I used a phone book to look up a telephone number. Normally, I’m sitting at my computer, so I just pull up the Yellow Pages online. But recycling the phone books that come to your home or office takes extra work – you can’t just toss them in with the newspapers and office paper.

So, YellowPagesGoesGreen.org is a great way to eliminate the waste generated by the phone book. A college student in Missouri who was overwhelmed by the number of phone books delivered to his house started this movement. It’s a similar concept to the National No-Call Registry, allowing consumers to opt out of receiving a thick paper phone book.

According to the Web site, more than 500 million phone directories are printed each year. To produce those books, 19 million trees need to be harvested, 1.6 billion pounds of paper are used and 268,000 cubic yards of landfill are taken up with phone books.

Simply sign up (for free) at YellowPagesGoesGreen.org and the organization will contact the local telephone company with your name and address and tell them to stop delivering a phone book to you.


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