Green Up Your Home Office

by Annette Young

Green living is an important concept for everyone to embrace and as writers, we should be equally conscious about our own contribution to the planet. If you mention green living, people immediately think of recycling, composting or swapping traditional light bulbs for energy efficient ones and whilst these are fantastic changes to make, you can also make some smaller and yet significant changes in your own home office environment and it just means altering the way that you currently work.

Years ago I was a demon for printing off all of my research materials- some of it was useful of course and I did like having paper to wade through as I made my notes but if I’m honest, a lot of my research material was unnecessary and I wasted reams of paper. As writers we do tend to use a lot of paper, and if you think about your own writing processes, how much actually ends up in the waste paper bin?

Becoming a little environmentally conscious and starting in your work space is a good thing and it’s not difficult to do. Firstly, can you keep your research material online? It may not be as easy but you can mark the pages that are the most relevant and print off just these pages if you really need a hard copy. Most times now, my research material stays on my laptop and I just highlight the content that I am likely to need, therefore saving many trees in the process and of course, keeping my money in the bank.

Recycled paper is readily available these days so if you do need to print, reach for the recycled instead. When you visit your local stationers, keep a look out for paper at sales prices and then stock up if you can. It’s worth keeping a bin next to your desk where you can store unwanted printed paper, this isn’t for throwing out, you can print on the other side, make notes or simply use for scrap paper but at least you can maximize your usage.

Printer cartridges can be quite expensive so try to have them refilled rather than just throwing them away and replacing. Sometimes, you will need to buy new but make sure that you dispose of your old cartridges sensibly. There are many cartridge disposal places and some companies enclose a pre-paid bag so that you send the old cartridges directly back to them. Got a printer or old electronic equipment that you no longer need? Don’t send them to landfill sites, sell, part-exchange, or offer them up free on any ‘freecycle’ sites as some people will enjoy the chance of repairing them or will be grateful for your old equipment. You could even donate them to charities or shelters.

Of course this list is by no means extensive, but it’s a good starting point and can make a substantial difference and it’s amazing how once you start, you can ‘green up your living space too’.

Image: © Julien Tromeur | Dreamstime.com

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