Even if you don’t take any other steps, working from home is already quite a sustainable practice. You don’t burn fossil fuels commuting to work; and, in many cases, you also don’t need to maintain a separate career wardrobe. So, as a work-at-home mum, you’re already maintaining a reasonably low footprint, even if you don’t go out of your way to achieve greater sustainability. But sustainability has many advantages; if you want to make your home-based business more environmentally friendly, here are 5 things to consider doing:
1. Furnish Your Workspace With Secondhand Items
If you need furnishings such as a computer desk and filing cabinets, it makes sense to acquire them on the secondary market. For starters, this could help to keep perfectly usable items from being sent to a landfill prematurely; and, secondly, it can help you to save heaps of money that could probably be put to better use. This is because used office furnishings tend to be more affordable upfront than new ones are.
2. Declutter, Donate and Recycle
Many work-at-home mums find that dealing with clutter is an ongoing task. Used printer cartridges, outdated electronics and old papers can pile up if you let them. It’s important to develop ongoing, environmentally-friendly routines for dealing with the unwanted rubbish that accumulates.
Set aside time every week to go through old papers. File the ones you need; shred and recycle the ones you don’t. Empty printer cartridges should ideally be recycled rather than thrown away.
If you’re working in a spare bedroom, you might find that you’re sharing space with extra beds, wardrobes or other clutter that distracts you from getting stuff done. If you aren’t ever actually going to have guests over, you could sell or donate your spare bed and recycle the mattress (see here for info about mattress recycling in Brisbane). Donate any old furnishings or items that you don’t need that might have value to someone else.
3. Take Advantage of Natural Light
If you work during daylight hours, it makes sense to set up your work environment to maximise the natural light that enters your home. Perhaps you could situate your computer desk and other essentials near a sunny window. This will enable you to use the sunshine instead of turning on artificial lighting all day.
Be sure to also stock your light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs. That way, you’ll minimise your energy consumption at times when it does become necessary to turn on the lights.
4. Choose a Laptop Computer
A laptop computer is significantly more energy-efficient than a desktop computer is. So if you have a choice between using a laptop and a desktop, go for the laptop.
Mobile phones tend to be even more energy efficient than laptop computers are; so if there are tasks you can easily accomplish on the phone rather than the laptop, doing so could save even more energy.
5. Utilise the Hibernate Feature
If you stop computing to take a phone call, have a cup of coffee or take a break, use your computer’s hibernate feature. This can further help to minimise your energy consumption.
These small, simple steps can make a substantial impact over time. If you’re hoping to save money, increase your energy efficiency and make your home-based business more sustainable, definitely consider implementing one or more of these ideas.