Lawyers Journal

MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge Eco-Tips

Tips are published each week in MBA Lawyers e-Journal. For more information, go to www.MassBar.org/ecochallenge.

Energy conservation

1. Replace your old-fashioned cathode-ray tube monitor to an LCD to reduce your energy use by one-third. A typical flat-panel monitor requires 25 watts; a CRT, 75.

2. Check the efficiency of everything you plug into your office outlets. Smarthome makes an energy meter called a Kill A Watt, which displays how much electricity the appliance uses per hour. You use the device by plugging it into an outlet and then plugging in your appliances.

3. Once you’ve taken steps to reduce your office’s energy consumption, start keeping track of how those changes have reduced your energy bills. Create a record-keeping system to measure your program’s effectiveness and determine ways to further decrease your office’s energy output.

Eco-conscious purchases

1. Think about the impact of all the products you buy for the office, even those seemingly as innocent as hand soap. When purchasing dishwashing liquid, hand soap and automatic dishwashing detergent for use in office kitchens and bathrooms, choose those which are free of toxic substances including phosphates, triclosan, chlorine and/or other antibacterial ingredients.

2. To help your office implement the many tips we’ve offered over the past several weeks, view a comprehensive list under the heading "Green Resources" at MassBar.org/ecochallenge. The resources list where you can purchase green office products:

• The Green Office: TheGreenOffice.com

• The Sustainable Group: SustainableGroup.net

• Energy Star: EnergyStar.gov

• Atlas Water: AtlasWaterSystems.com

3. When considering what paper to purchase and use at the office, consider more than just if the paper is recycled.

• Choose paper that is processed chlorine-free.

• Use unbleached and uncolored paper.

4. When replacing office supplies that are broken or otherwise useless, consider choosing environmentally friendly options.

• Staple-free staplers;

• Bulletin boards made of recycled materials; and

• Dry-erase calendars.

5. There are a few things to consider when your office decides to start buying green products and working with vendors to become more green.

• Make a list of all items used in your office.

a. Start choosing recycled content versions of as many as possible.

b. Think about eliminating duplicate products and/or asking employees to share items.

• Ask vendors to think about changing the ways they package their goods.

a. Suggest returning packaging to the vendor for reuse.

b. Ask vendors to minimize packaging.

c. Suggest that vendors create packaging their customers can use after the item is delivered.

6. Look for manufacturers which have particular certifications and/or use green materials when selecting office furniture.

• Solid wood desks

a. Make sure it is not made from a tropical hardwood.

b. Look for "FSC certified" timbers from suppliers that practice sustainable forest management.

• Particleboard furniture

a. Ask for formaldehyde-free, or low formaldehyde particleboard or options with non-toxic preservatives.

Paper reduction

If double-sided printing is not yet an option in your office, use the clean side of discarded paper to print all documents for internal use, such as drafts, e-mails, notices and reports.

Sustainable practices

1. Make being environmentally-friendly a part of your office’s culture.

• Make the office’s green standards and expectations a part of new employee orientation packages.

• Develop information on greener purchasing, recycling, commuting, etc., and make it easily accessible to all staff.

2. Consider Earth-friendly choices when selecting new personal supplies for your office and business needs.

• Use mugs made out of corn plastic.

• Pick a wood USB drive.

• Choose biodegradable pens.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association