This article has been taken from the website of a non-governmental American company CEA. CEA is a 3rd party study abroad provider which works with US and Canadian students to study abroad. The information in this article is simple yet comprhensive. The message is that workplaces can play effective role in saving Environment, simply by making some changes in daily routine and adopting Environment Care as a policy. Planting a tree or running a cleaning campaign for once is not enough, we all know. Edit
It’s Easy Being Green
CEA has taken on the initiative to think more globally about the way we operate both at home and overseas. Our aim is to recycle, reduce or eliminate the emissions and waste that we generate, and conserve energy and water wherever possible.
CEA’s first undertaking in “going green” was a move towards sustainable operations. Our goal is to reduce the pressures we put on the environment and to seek out greener products and services that are comparable in quality to the traditional alternatives.
- Certified FSC paper or paper obtained from other responsibly managed sources
- Paper with at least a 30% post-consumer recycled waste content
- Paper made using environmentally sound methods for bleaching/whitening
- Soya or vegetable-based inks for printing whenever possible
Second, CEA has instituted an office-wide recycling program. We are going beyond paper and aluminum can bins, though. CEA relies heavily on computers in our office. When those computers, monitors and other peripherals need to be replaced, CEA is committed to ensuring that those materials don’t end up in a landfill. First, if the hardware is viable, it is donated to local charities that put it to good use in our community. If it no longer works, it is sent to a certified e-waste recycler.
CEA is pursuing ways in which we can reduce our footprint as a company by conserving energy and reducing any negative interactions with our environment. We have started by using paints with zero volatile organic compounds (VOC) both here in the U.S. and abroad for our interior painted surfaces. We are also actively working to conserve water and energy in our day to day operations. As we open new CEA Study Abroad Centers, this eye to conservation and quality will be maintained whenever possible.
Other initiatives have yet to be realized, but as we continue to pursue our goals, we are working hard to put the following measures in place:
- Offsetting carbon emissions related to employee air travel through a responsibly managed fund which finances climatic protection projects in various regions of the world
- Distributing CEA Study Abroad Center class materials through online course management software, thereby reducing paper waste and increasing accessibility
- Developing a domestic and international “green” strategy for the operation of all our international offices and facilities
- Purchasing renewable energy credits to offset CEA’s energy consumption
- Selecting business partners, both in the U.S. and abroad, who embrace sustainable and environmentally conscious operating practices
Our impact as a civilization on this planet is undeniable. As much as we would like to make a change with our efforts, it is not enough. Therefore, we are looking for ways to share our commitment with you. Through the CEA Study Abroad Centers, we have and will continue to establish courses and programs that deal with globalization and its effects on our environment, society and culture. Below are some of the approaches we are taking to integrate this concept into your education:
- Incorporating means during orientation for you to identify local food and merchandise vendors, thus reducing the distance products are shipped and supporting the local economy
- Providing you with excursions, immersion activities and volunteer opportunities that focus on sustainability and environmental issues
- Utilizing bookstore retailers local to CEA Study Abroad Centers to reduce the impact of shipping and supporting local economies at the same time
- Establishing CEA Study Abroad Center programs that address environmental issues as they relate to global warming, business and globalization
Being green doesn’t have to completely change your life. It requires that you slow down for a minute and examine your normal habits. You’ll find there are lots of ways that you can change your behavior that can make a difference. Here are just a few ideas:
This should be a no-brainer if you are looking for ways to be greener. Remember, aluminum and paper aren’t the only things that can be recycled. Make sure you check with your school/city for what they can and cannot accept. If yours doesn’t offer recycling, it takes a bit more effort to haul your stuff to a drop-off center, but you can still recycle.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
When you grocery shop, grab a handful of the plastic bags you have at home already. Reusing them is an easy and cost-free way to do something, plus they can be balled up to be small so you can bring several with you. When you’re all done with your plastic bags, or if you have too many, don’t throw them in the trash. Instead, look near the entrance of your local grocery store. Most have receptacles to recycle used plastic bags. If you want to ditch the plastic all together, you can buy reusable cloth bags to carry your stuff home.
Every Last Drop Counts
Water is essential to life, and no matter where you live there are a few simple things you can do to conserve it. The quick and easy way is to shut off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, keep your showers short and don’t let the water run too long to get “hot.” Also run appliances like dishwashers and washing machines only when they are full. Speaking of washers, use only cold water to conserve more energy. Other water-saving ideas may take a little time or money, but are easy to do. Placing a solid object, like a brick or a bottle filled with water, in the tank of your toilet reduces the amount of water your toilet uses when flushing and refilling. Dripping faucets and running toilets also waste a lot of water over time. Fixing a dripping faucet or running toilet is much simpler than it sounds, and if you need advice, you can always go to your local hardware store for info.
Saving energy can be as easy as turning off a light. Make a conscious effort to turn off lights that you aren’t using. You can also bring that philosophy to your computer. Sleep mode is good for saving energy. Change the setting on your computer to default to sleep mode after a short time interval of inactivity (say 5 minutes). If your computer currently doesn’t automatically go into sleep mode, check your computer’s settings to turn it on. If you are leaving your computer for extended periods of time, turn both the CPU and the monitor off.
While you are computing, download one of CEA’s energy-saving desktops. Because your monitor uses more energy to display a white pixel that a dark/black one, you can save energy even while you’re computer is in use.
Monitor resolution sizes 800×600 1280×1024 1680×1050 1024×768 1400×1050 1920×1200 1152×864 1440×900 2560×1600
A Light-Changing Experience
Replace your incandescent lights with energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use 1/3 of the energy and last up to 10 years! Once again, you’ll save money and energy all at once. If you do switch to CFLs, make sure you dispose of them properly. They shouldn’t just go into the trash. Check out earth911.org to find out where you can take them. We’ve also found a really cool & entertaining site where you can educate yourself about CFL & LED lights at UnscrewAmerica.org.
Get Charged Up
You probably have at least a few little electronic gadgets in your life. Whether it is your cell phone, iPod, laptop, digital camera or other portable device, at some point you have to plug it in to recharge the batteries. But did you know that chargers and other equipment left on standby create phantom loads that waste megawatts every year. By unplugging your chargers and powering down anything you’re not using that has a little green or red light on it, you’ll save money and keep CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Improperly disposed of batteries are terrible for the environment. Use rechargeable instead of one-time use batteries for heavy use devices to avoid tossing loads of heavy metals like nickel cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel metal hydride and lead acid into a landfill. For devices that don’t get a lot of use, it may be best to still use regular batteries, but in both cases, don’t trash your batteries when they are all used up. Lots of retailers are now participating in battery recycling programs. Check out Radio Shack, Walmart, Home Depot, Staples, and more may take your used batteries for recycling. Use the finder to check in your area for places you can drop off your used batteries.
- If you use a car on campus, try finding alternative means of getting to where you’re going. Riding the bus is a great alternative – so is biking or walking, which are heart healthy too! If you have to drive, share a ride with others whenever possible. Keeping your car in good health and your tires properly inflated also will save you on gas! Another idea is to avoid long drive-through lines at the bank and fast food joint. Why not park it and walk up to the counter. Chances are you’ll get out faster anyway and avoid having your car idle for 5 or more minutes while wasting your gas and polluting the air.
Dump the Disposables
It seems that there is a disposable product for just about every aspect of life. While some, like toilet paper, are essential, a lot could be avoided. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning & household products. Sure, items like paper towels and napkins, plastic silverware and plates, and disposable dusters and other chemically laden wipes are convenient. But just try and cut back on using these types of products when possible and you will not only be doing your part to save the environment, you can save some serious dough over time (Yay! More spending money!). Would you like to save even more? Mix your own cleaning products with ingredients like baking soda, soap and vinegar. Click here to get the recipes.
- Get more information on green living and environmental issues.