Environmental Tip of the Week: CEH Office Habits

While looking around our office for the coffee-maker, I started thinking about some of the things we do here to lighten our impact on the environment.  Some are straightforward and common, like putting recycling bins next to each trash can.  Others are more subtle.  Sometimes small changes make big differences both for our wallets and for the environment.

Here are some of the eco-friendly habits that we practice here in the CEH office:

1.   Electric hot water heaters (stainless steel): Electric kettles and water heaters can heat water for a variety of different uses (tea, coffee, soup, oatmeal) and use less energy than a microwave.  They are much quicker and more energy efficient than standard stovetop tea kettles since they heat the water directly rather than using energy to heat the pot and air around it.  Stainless steel electric kettles are much better than plastic hot pots because, well, they’re not plastic.

2.   2-sided printing and re-used paper for printers: As a default, our printers are set up for 2-sided printing. For less important papers and internal items, re-using the other sides of old one-sided papers is a great way to reduce paper waste and saving money.

3.  Using tap water rather than a water cooler: Many offices have a central water cooler where employees use disposable plastic cups to drink bottled water, which isn’t necessarily any better than tap water.  This creates a ton of unnecessary waste.  Drink tap water.  It’ll save money and trash.

4.  Using glass Tupperware and office silverware: Having real mugs, plates, and silverware is a great way to enjoy your lunch at work without using wasteful plastic plates and silverware containers.  Some CEH folks even bring their own Tupperware to restaurants to avoid those disposable polystyrene and plastic take-out containers.

5.  Compost: Caroline, our resident “compost queen” leaves a large, empty yogurt container in our kitchen, and the rest of us fill it up with food waste.  She then drops the contents at Whole Foods’ compost collection bin on her way home from work.