Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Simple Things You Can Do

You can practise elements of sustainability in many ways both at home and at work. The following are some examples of the areas you can start with.


Save water
  • Cut your shower time by 1 minute - potential saving 2.5 gallons of water.
  • Rinse your teeth with a tumbler instead of running tap.
  • Wash vegetables and dishes in a filled sink instead of under a running tap - potential saving 14 liters of water.
  • Fill your washing machine on a full load, not half.
  • Use half flush for liquid waste in the toilet.
  • Use water efficient appliances.
  • Fix leaks by replacing faucet washers and toilet flappers as needed. A slow drip or leak can easily waste more than 100 gallons of water a week, which leads to an unnecessarily high water bill.
  • Use a broom instead of water to clean your driveway or garage.
  • Check, a good resource for youth to learn about water conservation.

Save Electricity

  • Use energy saving lights.
  • Make use of natural lighting in the house.
  • Turn off your television or any appliances rather than putting them on standby mode.
  • Switch off the lights when not in use.
  • Switch off air conditioner when the room is already cooled.
  • Switch off hot water when not in use, it generally only takes 5 to 10 minutes for hot water tank to heat up.
  • Choose a more fuel-efficient car, using public transport and using alternatives as often as possible.
  • Don’t buy unnecessary electrical appliances.
  • Buy the most energy efficient appliances.
  • Learn more about energy saving.


  • Reduce the use of plastic bags.
  • Check if your local fast food outlets use environmentally friendly packaging. The packaging of many fast-food chains is manufactured using CFCs - potent greenhouse gases.
  • Don’t eat junk food, not only it is not good for your health but junk food is heavily processed using a lot of energy.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle.


Save Paper

  • Print no more than you need to.
  • Use electronic mail for inter-office memos, announcements, and targeted communications.
  • Print and/or copy double sided.
  • Use light weight paper. Heavier weight sheets use more fibre and costs more per sheet than lighter ones.
  • Bring your laptop (if you have) instead of printing your copy of reports to meetings or group discussion, after all, laptop is portable.
  • Reduce unnecessary color printing. Color printer uses thicker paper and consumes more waste (ink, energy, etc.).
  • Reuse discarded one-sided printed paper as scrap paper.
  • Gather your discarded paper in recycling stack, not rubbish bin.
  • Eliminate fax cover sheets, if possible. Most fax machines automatically print identifying information at the top of pages sent. Put identifying information within the content of documents you send, or use mini fax post-it notes to eliminate the need for cover sheets entirely.

Save Energy

  • Change the office’ lights to energy saving lights, talk to your office manager.
  • Turn off lights in meeting room when leaving the room.
  • Turn off office lights if you are the last leaving the office.
  • When not in use for long period, turn off electrical equipment such as photocopiers and computers. Even if the equipment is on standby mode, it is still using a significant amount of electricity.
  • Install motion detectors at areas less frequented in the office.
  • For short distance, refrain from driving. Walking or cycling to the destination is not only good for you but it is friendly to the environment as well.
  • Use public transport to go to office instead of private car.

Reduce Waste

  • Bring your own reusable lunch containers if you pack your meal from a food stall. This will eliminate the usage of highly environmentally unfriendly styrofoam food boxes. If you buy your lunch every working day, that is almost 260 styrofoam boxes you save a year from using/disposing, multiply that by the number of staff in our office who do the same!
  • Recyle the office waste.

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