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April 22nd marks International Earth Day, the official celebration of the modern environmental movement which started in the 1970s. Global Warming is a critical issue today and as inhabitants of this planet, it is our duty to take care of it. Make green action a priority both personally and professionally. Here are 5 ways to positively contribute to your home and be more eco-conscious at the office:

  1. Get into that paperless mindset Only print what is necessary. When printing several pages, use duplex or the double-sided technique. Be sure to reuse non-confidential paper in the office. Also, verify if the office uses 100% recyclable printing paper and aim to be a paperless workplace.
  2. Make it a habit to recycle Locate all the blue recycle bins in your office building so that you can dispose of recyclable waste properly. Twenty-five percent of people don’t recycle because “it’s not accessible or convenient.” If you don’t already have one, invest in a shredder to properly dispose of documents that are only for your eyes and cannot be reused. Statistics show that shredding can reduce air pollution by 74%, energy consumption by 64%, and water consumption by 50%. Plus, shredded paper is transformed to create other recycled products and more recycled paper. In our office, we use a Fellowes model to shred trade secret, confidential material before it’s placed in a Blue Bin or with other recyclables.
  3. Dishwasher manners If your office has a dishwasher, don’t start a load if it’s not at maximum capacity. The average modern dishwasher uses about 6 gallons of water each use. Although you may be rushed to get to a meeting, consider washing your few dishes by hand with hot water on low pressure in an effort to conserve water. Additionally, refrain from using disposable plates and cups. If your office doesn’t provide reusable dishes and cutlery, consider bringing some from home.
  4. Lights off Remember your parents’ reminder to “turn off the lights?” When stepping out of your office for lunch or the restroom, turn off the lights if they’re not in use in order to save some energy. If your office building doesn’t do this already, sensor lights are a great way to reduce energy usage.
  5. Carpool? Or even better, walk, bike or scoot! Have the same schedule as a colleague? Consider carpooling to reduce pollution in the air. If you live close to work, riding your bike or walking will not only benefit the environment but your physical health as well.

Applying the 3 R’s in the workplace may seem difficult to accomplish, especially if you work in a fast-paced environment. However, these office-oriented tips assist your social responsibility and solve urgent environmental issues today. Small actions go a long way!


Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, attorney, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide (Wiley 2015), now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Sophie Echeverry is the Corporate Marketing Manager and Event Coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, she’s a 2018 graduate with a B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco, CA. Sophie has co-written more than 30 blogs since graduation. She’s a passionate foodie, and an avid e-scooter rider. Follow her foodie Instagram account or Connect with her on LinkedIn.