By Murray Anderson, eHow Expert in Home Repair
Whether your home office is a separate room with a desk, door and lots of equipment--or merely an area in your bedroom or kitchen--it can eat up lots more energy and resources than any other place in your home. If you want to cut back on your home office's environmental footprint--here are some ways you can accomplish this.
Keep a separate basket for recyclable paper. It's amazing how much other "garbage" you can accumulate in a home office, and if you only have one waste paper basket, it will become the place where any garbage, old batteries, plastic wrap as well as paper will end up before going to the landfill. Batteries should be recycled at the appropriate locations, not thrown in the garbage and paper and post-it notes can easily be recycled if kept separate.
Cut down on the amount of paper you use in your office by minimizing the amount of printing you do. Consider if you really need to print out emails or draft versions of documents you are working on.
Use the duplex printing option on your printer to use both sides of a sheet of paper. Today, even low-cost ink jet printers can print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
Keep documents and paper mail you receive and use the back side as quick note pads or scratch paper. Even envelopes can be used to jot down a quick note to yourself.
Buy eco-friendly supplies. Large office supply stores are quite eco-conscious and have all kinds of basic supplies made from recycled materials. Recycled printer paper, file folders, ink cartridges and even paper clips are all readily available.
Think about how you use the equipment in your office. Computers, modems and printers don't need to be left on 24 hours a day. Turn them off at the end of your workday and you'll save all kinds of energy over the course of a month.
Pondering a new computer? Consider getting a laptop rather than a desktop. You'll benefit from the extra convenience of being able to move it from place to place, and a laptop will use much less energy than a desktop model (some estimates indicate a laptop will actually use only about one-fourth the energy a desktop consumes). If you don't want to give up your large screen monitor, most new laptops can connect directly to an LCD monitor.
Educate yourself about electronic waste (e-waste). Anytime you change or upgrade a piece of office electronics, recycle it in a responsible way. Many of the components (particularly in older electronics) contain hazardous materials and shouldn't just be thrown into the trash. Many cities have electronic recycling locations where you can take your e-waste for responsible recycling