The average office tosses out about 350 pounds of paper per year per employee. Reducing paper usage and buying paper with post-consumer recycled content can go a long way to reduce any company’s carbon footprint. Photo cred: FogStock/ThinkstockEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: I own a small business and would like to do what I can to minimize its impact on the environment. Can you help me? — Jacob Levinson, New York, NYThere are many ways to green up any business, large or small—and an added benefit might just be saving money. Just like individuals, businesses can measure their carbon footprints to get a sense of where they are starting from and to get some initial ideas of areas to focus on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a free “Simplified GHG [greenhouse gas] Emissions Calculator” to help small businesses get started. Another option is to enroll in TerraPass’s “Carbon Balanced Business” program, which helps commercial entities measure and then offset the greenhouse gas emissions they are responsible for generating.Beyond carbon footprints, there are many other things businesses can do to minimize their environmental impacts. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that, first and foremost, businesses should shift the paper paradigm—the average office tosses out about 350 pounds of paper per year per employee. “Reducing your waste and purchasing paper with post-consumer recycled content can help save trees and nudge the pulp and paper industry, one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the world, toward a less damaging path,” NRDC reports. Some easy ways to do this include: setting printers to use both sides of a page (or designating a “draft tray” filled with paper that’s blank on one side); buying copy paper with a 30 percent or more post-consumer recycled content; collecting used paper separately for recycling; and stocking bathrooms with post-consumer recycled tissue products.Getting more energy efficient is another way to save the Earth while saving money too. NRDC recommends taking advantage of the fact that most utilities offer free or inexpensive energy audits, whereby an engineer examines operations and provides a report about how to save on energy costs. Turning off lights and electronics at the end of the work day can save bundles of energy. “Plug all your appliances into a power strip and you’ll only have to flip one switch at the end of the day,” suggests NRDC. Also, setting computers to “sleep” or “hibernate” when inactive will further reduce a business’s footprint. And NRDC says to lose the screensavers: “Flying toasters and slideshows can use up about $50 of electricity in a year.” Lastly, when shopping for new office appliances, look for the EnergyStar label which means that the federal government has rated the particular unit highly in terms of energy efficiency.Cutting water waste will also make a business run greener. The group says to install faucet aerators and low-flow toilets, check for and fix leaks, landscape with water efficiency in mind and recycle gray water where applicable for nonpotable uses such as watering gardens.Lastly, NRDC suggests creating a greener work environment, given that “employees are on the front lines of any sustainability initiatives” a business chooses to make—perhaps by creating a green team “with members from all divisions of the organization to help implement plans and bring new ideas to the table.” Those looking to take their businesses down a green path should consult any of the free “Greening Your Business” guides on NRDC’s website.CONTACTS: EPA, www.epa.gov/climateleadership/smallbiz/footprint.html; NRDC Greening Your Business, www.nrdc.org/cities/living/gbusiness.asp.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Tweet 23 Views one comment Caribbean Telecommunication Union’s Secretary General Ms. Bernadette LewisAs technology continues to brings many good things to our lives; better health care, more convenience and sometimes extra time to do something else, technology also can cause more stress for being connected to work and family all the time and also many distractions that get us in trouble or hurt. Whether this is a fact or not, many argue that technology has taken over the world since it has already seeped its way into many of the very core areas of society. Today’s society is highly technologically centric and there is little which hasn’t been touched by automation or other technological progression.General Secretary of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Ms Bernadette Lewis has linked these changes in technology to the emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).She told the second leg of the ICT Roadshow in Dominica that the ICT revolution in itself qualifies the rapid changes in technology that the world must be prepared to face, since it cannot be evaded.According to Ms. Lewis, today’s every-day life surrounds technology, from our children’s education to our nation’s development.“We have lost preferential markets for traditional agricultural products. Your competition these days isn’t ‘the man down the road’ but it might be somebody or an organization or another country halfway around the world. Have you noticed that your children exist in another world over which you have no control…we call it cyberspace. As a region, we in the Caribbean have been concerned with the slow pace of development and the struggle to be competitive. Is that as a result of anything that we have done? No, it isn’t. It is the world system imposing change on our world. And many of these changes that we are experiencing are directly related to the ICT revolution”.She cautioned Caribbean governments to learn to appreciate the level of connectivity that ITC brings and the ability to exchange information through its diverse mediums. This she believes will enable us to see the true potential of the ICT sector.Honourable Ambrose George holds up an ABC chart “So it is incumbent upon us that we pay close attention to ICT’s. Many countries have been able to advance their development by capitalizing on the potential of ICTs for social and economic development. But we in the Caribbean we have been investing heavily into technology but have not been able to leverage the potential to achieve the developmental gains on a scale like countries like Malta and Japan that have wholeheartedly embraced ICT. And I think that these countries understood that development does not begin with technology, it begins with the mind and the collective will of citizens who recognize that development is not something conferred but it is something that citizens and government must do for themselves.”The Caribbean Telecommunications Union has been working with Caribbean governments to successfully implement ICT sectors, which can be outsourced through various government departments. Ms Lewis said that ICT-enabled development in itself requires innovation and so governments should be refocus their energies, and look at ICT with ‘a different eye’. “We would have to identify the resources and activities that can contribute to our development. We would need to promote, formulate and implement the activities that advance our cause. We would have to discard many of the anachronistic systems and processes of the last century which have become obstacles in our path in this era. We would have to change mindsets and embrace the belief that we have the capacity to seize every opportunity presented by the ICT revolution to become more competitive to strengthen our economies and to enhance the quality of the life of our citizens”. The recent ICT thrust involves emphasis on the education of primary and secondary school students on ICTs, as they recognize the global changes to education. The CTU has collaborated with the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a chart called ‘The ABC of ICTs’, which targets the Early Childhood Education Department. Five hundred copies of the chart were presented to the Ministry of Education in Dominica for distribution at all preschools and primary schools on the island.The CTU believes that an educated workforce is critical in keeping aligned with the global technological changes.“But most importantly, we would have to educate our workforce; we would need to educate our citizens. We would have to ensure that our schools curriculum produces students with the necessary skills to capture the potential of ICT when they enter the workforce. But how can citizens know unless they are taught? How can they be taught, unless someone takes the time to teach them? The CTU has undertaken this task of teaching and exposing the citizens of the region through its ITC Road Show initiative to expose them to the transformative power of ICT and the terms that are relevant to their current environment”.Dominica Vibes News LocalNews Technological advancements taking over the world by: – January 17, 2012 Share Share Sharing is caring! Share