Take your office back to school 
The stores are filled with crayons, markers, glue sticks and Hannah Montana notebooks. It’s back-to-school time. OK, so you’re not going back to school, you’re just headed back to the office for another wild work week. But you can turn this back-to-school time into an opportunity to introduce some green into the workplace.

Seems this time of the year is perfect for offices to take stock of their supply cabinets and look for ways to reduce consumption or switch at least a few items to more environmentally options.

• Paper clips made from recycled steel.
• Pencils made from blue jeans and newspaper.
• This looks neat: a staple-free stapler, which makes it easier to drop your paper in the recycling bin or use the blank sides of that 30-page report for printing without having to pick out the staples. Check it out here.
• Check out TerraCycle Inc. for a host of nifty office supplies made from recycled products. They have pouch pencil cases, folders and lunch boxes made from old juice boxes. And you’re sure to be the talk of the boardroom with a notebook made from an old Double Stuff Oreo wrapper.

These days it’s fairly easy to find recycled paper, notepads and Post-it Notes made of 30 percent postconsumer content (or more). In fact, just about all stores carry some environmentally friendly office supplies, and larger stores have devoted entire product lines to earth-friendly items, such as Staples EcoEasy and Office Deport Green.

But you carry this school concept beyond the office supplies. Try turning the next few weeks into a time to educate your co-workers, management and customers with a “back to school – green style” theme.

A couple of ideas to get you started:
• Pack your lunch. For one week, encourage all employees to bring their lunch. The catch is the lunches have to be sustainable – put food in reusable containers, bring a cloth napkin and pack some locally grown fruits or veggies.
• No printing week. Employees are allowed to print two sheets of paper a day, which gets them thinking about whether a document really needs printed.
• Community service grade. Invite a guest speaker or two from local environment groups to talk about their organizations and how employees can get involved, either individually as a company.

It’s a great chance to educate your co-workers about being more environmentally conscious and in a fun way. And, the best part: no final exams.

Ideas for how to educate your co-workers on going green? Post a comment and share your ideas.


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