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Some of us put in enough hours at the office that it can feel like a second home—and that means your workday eco-imprint may be bigger than you’d like. But it can also be tough to change hardwired, officewide practices with just one voice. So, if you’re still searching for a New Year’s resolution, here’s one: organize a green team devoted to making the office a more environ-mentally sustainable place.
Be sure to sign up key players to initiate your green team, advises Mary Lynn Wilhere, business outreach coordinator with Washington, D.C.’s District Department of the Environment: “You want a mix of people who are passionate about environmental issues, but also people with authority who can make decisions.” Once your team is a go, do your best to recruit at least one member from each department.
“Start with easy wins, such as switching to Forest Stewardship Council—certified or recycled copy paper and setting printers to print pages on both sides,” suggests Jennifer Gerholdt, program officer with the World Wildlife Fund, who’s worked with a green team at WWF. Later, you might try to win approval for installing energy-efficient lightbulbs, setting lights and equipment on timers so they turn off after a period of inactivity, and establishing recycling and composting in the break room.
As important as sustainability is, try not to take yourself too seriously. “Make it fun, so you avoid green fatigue,” advises Wilhere.
For more tips on starting up a green team, visit greening.usda.gov, and click on Green Teams.