Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, you’re probably already very “eco-friendly”) you know that today is Earth Day, an annual event that has sparked global demonstrations every year to bring light to environmental issues. What better way for writers to celebrate Earth Day than to take steps to become more eco-friendly.
12 Tips for Writers to Become More Eco-Friendly:
As a writer, it stands to reason that you use a combination of laptop (or other mobile device) and pen and paper to do your writing. Maybe you work from a home office and have a printer, fax machine, and shredder. If you’re a freelance writer or published author, you might even have a file cabinet full of invoices and important business documents. Maybe you have a home office, or maybe you make a daily commute to an office or a coffee shop where you do most of your writing. Whatever your setup, there are some surefire steps you can take as a writer to become more eco-friendly.
- Use ENERGY STAR® appliances. Ensure your electronic office equipment (such as laptops, printers, fax machines, etc.) and other home appliances are energy efficient (look for the “energy star” label). Using appliances with energy star label can significantly reduce your energy consumption.
- Use Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs. Use CFLs instead of incandescent, halogen, or LED bulbs. CFL bulbs are more energy efficient and reduce electricity use by up to one-third of traditional bulbs. And CFL bulbs last nearly 15 times longer than other bulbs.
- Leave the lights off. As soon as you leave a room, make it a habit to turn off the light. And try leaving the lights off for as long as you can, using natural light instead. Open the curtains or work from a well-lit room. You can even work outside on the porch. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air!
- Turn off your computer. Too often, we leave our computers on at night. I know I’m guilty of this. Turning off your computer not only saves energy, it’s also good for your computer. Leaving them powered up can result in heat stress and mechanical wear. Make sure to unplug other unused chargers and appliances to save even more electricity.
- Use a green web host. If you have an author or business website or blog, consider using a green web host, such as iPage or HostGator. You can find reviews of the top green web hosting companies here.
- Consider the green cloud. Use cloud storage to save your files and other important data. Cloud storage is not just eco-friendly, it is convenient and can be a lifesaver in some instances (like when your laptop is stolen or you get the BSOD and need instant access to all your files).
- Go paperless. This is a bit more involved, but going paperless in an as many areas as you can will help reduce your carbon foot print and foster more eco-friendly practices. Call your utilities to see if you can get paperless billing. Use your debit card instead of writing checks. Pay your invoices with Paypal or other online payment services, such as Dwolla or Chase QuickPay. Use accounting software like Quicken or FreshBooks to reduce your paper trail.
- Use less paper (and reuse scrap paper). Going paperless doesn’t completely eliminate the need for the use of paper. You’ll still need to print certain papers, write letters, address envelopes, etc. Use less paper by printing on both sides when possible. Reuse scrap paper for notetaking or cut unused portions of old scrap paper to use as index cards. And be sure to recycle any unused paper that you can’t repurpose.
- Use eco-friendly furnishings. Furnish your home office with repurposed or recycled furnishings as often as you can. Use a secondhand desk. Buy an eco-friendly office chair made with natural materials. Reuse old Mason jars and cookie tins for office supplies like pens and paperclips.
- Don’t waste coffee. If you make coffee at home, make a full pot and refrigerate the rest to reheat for later. Making less than a full pot each time you want coffee uses unnecessary electricity. You can also use a programmable coffee pot or the magical Keurig, which has an Auto-Off feature that when selected turns the brewer off after the last brew. (Keurigs and other single-serving machines can save up to 20% more energy than regular auto-drip coffeemakers).
- Switch to an eco-friendly coffee. Using eco-friendly coffees with “Fair Trade” and “Rainforest Alliance Certified” labels can reduce deforestation, ensure coffee farms continue to provide habitats for birds, and help to support farmers in developing nations.
- Use natural home office cleaners. Using eco-friendly cleaners for your home and home office can eliminate harmful toxins and help the environment in the process. Luckily, green cleaning supplies are becoming increasingly available. You can also opt for DIY natural cleaners such as baking soda, vinegar, water, and borax.
There you have it, an Earth Day guide to becoming a more eco-friendly writer. And remember, if you’re self-publishing, consider using a site like Kbuuk, with features that help reduce your carbon footprint by offering full-service account plans that allow you to take care of all your publishing efforts from one place.