Friday, March 21, 2008

green ur life

Get ancient forests out of your paper.

Environmental options are available for a dizzying array of products including mailing labels, tissue products, bags and coated papers. 100 post-consumer, processed chlorine-free paper is widely available and is the best choice for all paper use.

The Markets Initiative (a coalition of environmental groups including Greenpeace) has created an online database of eco-friendly paper for all your paper needs.

You can also look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper. FSC certified paper contains virgin fibre sourced from logging operations that have met strict standards for social and environmental responsibility.

Sadly, corporations like Kimberly-Clark also use ancient forests in disposable tissue products like toilet paper. As a result, many businesses are choosing to stop buying Kimberly-Clark products until they change their destructive practices. Encourage your workplace to join Greenpeace's Forest Friendly 500 campaign and do the right thing for ancient forests.

And make sure all the tissue products at your workplace contain high post-consumer recycled content. For some tips on green paper buying from Greenpeace, visit
Green your office equipment.

Start by making sure that all your office equipment is energy efficient. The federal ENERGY STAR program has certified a full range of office equipment including photocopiers, printers, computers and fax machines. For more information from Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition on additional green certifications for computers, visit: For a ranking of electronics manufacturers from Greenpeace International, visit the Greenpeace Guide to Green Electronics.

Make sure you are doing the right thing when you're done with electronics, which usually contain a variety of toxic chemicals and are classified as hazardous waste. If your equipment's still in good shape, visit Industry Canada's 'Computers for Schools' website to find out how to recycle your surplus IT equipment to schools, public libraries and not-for-profits.

Some retailers will also take back electronics when you're done with them. Visit Electronic Products Stewardship Canada for some links to the recycling programs of a variety of manufacturers.

If your workplace doesn't currently recycle electronics, try creating an inhouse program. Use the resources listed here and contact your municipality for additional advice.
Eat and drink responsibly.

If you're lucky, wherever you work, there's coffee. Make sure it's fair trade, organic coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate) - it's all widely available right now. Also choose organic cream, organic milk and fair trade sugar.

If there's a cafeteria where you work - or if you have food at meetings and special events - create a responsible procurement policy. The best choice - local, GE-free, organic food you can trace straight back to the farmer. For more information on sourcing organic food in Canada, visit the Canadian Organic Growers. Your workplace can also consider Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which allows you to invest in a farmer's annual crop. The dividends: farm fresh food, as soon as it's ripe. To find a local CSA, try an internet search or ask at your local food co-op.

If you're planning a special event at work, try to construct a 'hundred-mile menu' - a meal assembled from ingredients found within a hundred-mile radius of your home. But don't stop at food. Consider locally-grown, organic flowers (make sure to ask about labour conditions if they're not fair trade certified) and local organic wine.

For a whole book full of green tips, check out the fabulous Greenpeace Living Guide.

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