Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tree-Friendly Paper and Naughty Photocopiers

This past week you turned off your standby boxes, conserved on printing and continued to keep the lights and computers off when you don’t need them.

Standby - When you turn off your standby power, do you notice something? Or the absence of something? Some power bars emit white noise. My modem at home and power bar at work are particularly bad for this. And now that I’m turning them off, I really notice the noise when they’re on. It’s not a nice sound. Is this the noise you want in your home and work space 24/7? Now that you recognize the noise, let it serve as a reminder to turn it off. Reduce the noise, reduce GHG emissions, all in one click of a switch.

Lights - One other word on lights – now that the days are getting longer, I am reducing light use by fully opening the blinds during the day. I ask myself: do I really need to have lights on right now? Usually I don’t.

Printing - How are you coming along with printing? Doesn’t it feel good to be a tree preserver? Do people make fun of you because of it? Just tell those tree slayers that over two centuries ago, forests covered 34% of the land. They now cover 12%. That’s a 2/3rd reduction to date, and it’s continuing at an alarming rate. Of course, there are other reasons why this is happening aside from paper needs. Check out my Wonderful People focus this week….

TO Do This Week

Recycled Paper
If you don’t print on recycled paper, please do. It’s a bit more expensive, but well worth it, especially now that we’re reducing our paper use. According to Dave Reay in Climate Change Begins at Home, the virgin paper used by the average office worker over a year carries a greenhouse gas price tag of 100kg – before use! It takes more energy to make from new, then to make from reused paper. And of course, you’re not falling more trees, and destroying carbon sinks, to write up reports or pen your next masterpiece.

The more you choose recycled goods over non-recycled, the stronger this market becomes, and the greater the demand for the materials you place in the recycle bin.

Why reduce printing if you are using recycled paper anyway? It takes energy to make everything and these days that energy comes predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels. Besides, you can take the money you save in reducing paper consumption and invest it in recycled paper.

Next time you need to purchase paper, please chose paper that has been recycled.

Office Equipment
If you are turning off power bars, you are more than likely turning off photocopiers and printers at the end of a work day. If not, please do – or ensure that the co-worker who just can’t tear him/herself away from the office does. Photocopiers alone that hum all night account for a massive four tonnes of GHG emissions. Your office may have an Energy Star photocopier, at which case it should shut itself off when not being used.

Best thing to do, however, is just to turn it off when you turn off the lights.

The Sacred Balance, by David Suzuki with Amanda McConnell
Climate Change Begins at Home, by Dave Reay
The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, by Michael Brower and Warren Leon (Union of Concerned Scientists)

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