Working from home

If your home is your workplace, then the issues raised above in Environmental Management could also apply. In particular, you can reduce the impact of the way you work on the environment depending on:

  • How you furnish your work space at home.
  • How much paper you use and whether it is recycled (paper products use about half of the world's annual commercial wood harvest; it takes about a quarter less energy to produce recycled paper than brand new paper).
  • How far you keep energy consumption to the minimum.
  • Whether you recycle your waste where possible.
  • Whether you reduce business travel where possible, particularly by car.

Actions

Furnishing and equipping your home office:

  • The Home section contains advice on how to minimise synthetic materials and finishes to create a healthy and green working environment.
  • If you plan to use wood furniture, try to ensure that it is constructed from timber accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • The only really green I.T. purchase is a reconditioned computer, but this is difficult given the speed of I.T. development. Check the computer's energy consumption - they vary considerably. Flat screens use less energy (and emit less radiation) than standard monitors.
  • Try to avoid plastic office equipment (trays etc.) - choose metal, which is less harmful to the environment.
  • Multi-function equipment (telephone/answer machine or printer/fax machine/scanner) uses less resources in its manufacture and disposal (and takes up less space).
  • Use refillable biros, highlighter pens etc.

Minimising your use of paper:

  • Use e-mails wherever possible.
  • Try to use both sides of the paper when printing.
  • Buy recycled paper products wherever possible for printers and photocopiers.
  • re-use envelopes.

Reducing energy consumption (and saving money):

  • Use low-energy light bulbs.
  • Switch your computer equipment off when not in use.

Recycling your waste:

  • Send printer ink cartridges and photocopier toners for recycling.
  • Re-use computer discs whenever possible.
  • Pass old computers to a local school, charity or computer recycling company see contact details below.

See also Home for more ideas to help you be more environmentally friendly about the house.

Contacts

  • Enterprise Nation run campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of working from home and provide advice to home workers.
    01743 272555
    info@enterprisenation.com  
    www.enterprisenation.com
  • The Green Stationery Company has a wide range of office supplies:
    Tel 01225 480556
    Fax 01225 481211
    www.greenstat.co.uk
    email jay@greenstat.co.uk 
  • Forest Stewardship Council
    Tel 01686 413916
    email info@fsc-uk.org 
  • Free Computers For Education is a registered charity which refurbishes computers for schools in the local area, the rest of the UK and abroad.
    Tel 0800 0526179 (Grahame Leon-Smith)
    Fax 01932 874068
  • Support the Princess Alice Hospice by joining their inkjet cartridge recycling scheme.
    Tel 01372 723723 for Freepost envelopes
  • Surrey Sustainable Business Programme
    Tel 0845 749 4949
    www.egeneration.co.uk/surrey