Unclogging a Drain -- The acids or lye in commercial drain cleaners don’t belong in wastewater. Try a plunger or plumber’s snake first. If there’s no standing water, pour in a cup of baking soda and then three cups of boiling water (a cheap and efficient solution!). Repeat if necessary.
Refillable Packaging -- Many beauty and cleaning products are now available in dispensers that you purchase once and then refill from flexible pouches. You can reduce packaging waste by as much as 80 percent when you buy shampoo, hand soap, lotions, and detergent this way. This also saves $!
Test for a Leaky Toilet -- A leak from the toilet tank into the bowl is a stealth problem -- you can’t see it, but water is bleeding away constantly. To check for a leak, put three drops of food coloring in the tank and wait a half-hour. If the color appears in the bowl, repair or replace the flapper valve, an easy operation that can save 100 gallons of water or more daily (and $ in your water bill!).
Dispose of Paints Properly -- Many paints contain toxic solvents or heavy metals. Keep leftovers for touchups or other projects. Oil-based paints can be taken to community disposal points or paint exchanges that encourage reuse. Visit www.earth911.org for an online finder of community hazardous waste programs.
More Ideas for Office
Know Your Companies Recycling Options – Encourage your company to recycle plastic and aluminum.
Recycling Toner -- Recycling toner cartridges helps keep toner costs down and benefits the environment.
Exploring Recycled Paper -- Encourage your Purchasing team to enquire about options with varying levels of recycled and post-consumable content.
Turning Off Your Computer -- Contrary to office legend, turning off your computer when you go home at night does no harm. The good it does, according to a study from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, is substantial -- one workstation (computer and monitor) left on all night for a year is responsible for one ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Switching it off at night and setting it to sleep when idle during the day can reduce energy use by 80 percent.