Telework Recruiting Offers Five Ways Telecommuters Can Further Help the Environment

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Telecommuting has done much to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but working remotely is only the beginning. Work habits must be environmentally-friendly, too.

Remote employees have a lot of control over how they work. This is a great opportunity to make small changes that will have a big impact on the environment.

For Earth Day, Telework Recruiting, one of the oldest online telecommuting job services, offers telecommuters even more ways they can help the environment.

Transportation is the source of 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)*. It’s no wonder that telecommuting is touted as being helpful to the planet. Even though more and more people are now working from home, Telework Recruiting president, Pamela La Gioia, says it isn’t enough.

“An environmental problem often not taken into consideration,” she says, “is the overuse of electricity.” According to the EPA, electricity accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions. Residential and commercial greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 19% since 1990,  because of increasing electricity consumption for lighting, heating, air conditioning, and appliances.* The overuse of electricity is just one important area to watch.

To help remote workers reduce their overall environmental footprints, La Gioia offers these five suggestions:

1. Cut down on home office energy use
Use a laptop which uses less energy than a desktop computer. In fact, laptops use 80% less electricity than desktops and operate on up to a third less energy.** If using a desktop is necessary, turn it off when not in use or put it on hibernate or even sleep mode which uses less energy than a screensaver. For office lighting, switch to LED light bulbs which use 85% less energy than regular bulbs.

Other ways to conserve energy include unplugging your coffee pot or other items that still run because of a clock feature; and unplugging chargers as they continue to draw energy even when not being used. Finally, now that warmer weather is here dress down before cranking on the air conditioner.

2. Bring the green indoors
Plants do much more than add personal touches to our offices. They eat up volatile organic compounds (VOCs).***  Plants can help offset the short- and long-term adverse health effects from VOCs, which, says the EPA, can have concentrations up to ten times higher indoors.

According to a study by NASA,  “Many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight pollution indoors. They’re reportedly able to scrub significant amounts of harmful gases out of the air, through the everyday processes of photosynthesis. Some pollutants are also absorbed and rendered harmless in the soil.” ****

3. Take work outdoors
If indoor plants have been shown to improve energy and productivity, consider how inspiring working outdoors surrounded by greenery, fresh air, and natural lighting will be. And, working outside is a perfect time to turn off electronics in the house.

4. Conserve, reuse, and recycle
Similar to prevention, conservation is always the best choice. To reduce the volume of paper use, La Gioia suggests printing on both sides of the paper. Stapling large pieces of barely used paper together to create a scrap note pad is a great way to reuse paper and conserve trees. Used paper can further be shredded and turned into packing filler if you have to ship something.

Recycle cell phones, cell phone batteries, old computer equipment, and more. Don’t toss them into the trash or leave them on the curb.

5. Be a responsible pet owner
Working with their pets close by is a perk of remote working. Yet with over 83 million pet dogs and 90 million pet cats, it’s a pet owner’s responsibility to clean up after them. Many people believe since their pets’ feces are degradable that they are good, or at least safe, for the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the Department of Ecology, “Composting and burial do not kill hazardous pathogens that may be in the waste and can pollute water.” *****

The EPA reports that just two to three days of pet waste from 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria, nitrogen, and phosphorous to close twenty miles of a bay watershed to swimming and shellfishing. Bacteria from feces can likewise become airborne, polluting the air we breathe.******

The tremendous growth in telecommuting over the past ten years has done much to help the environment. Smaller steps, taken by individuals who work from home, can cumulatively make a big impact, too. These tips offer money saving, healthier, cleaner ways to work from home, making it a win-win for teleworkers and the planet.


About Telework Recruiting
Founded in 1999, Telework Recruiting remains one of the few online job services that still continues to offer strictly remote opportunities. With jobs in over 30 professional categories, and a database of over 2,000 companies that hire remote workers, opportunities listed with Telework Recruiting do not to require extensive traveling, frequent onsite visits, or long onsite probationary periods. All jobs--contract, freelance, full-time, part-time, or otherwise, are telecommuting-only. Telework Recruiting has been featured in many popular outlets such as Fortune, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fiscal Times, and FOX News.

About the Environmental Protection Agency
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970, to research, monitor, and set standards to ensure environmental protection. Its mission is to protect human health and the environment.

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Pamela La Gioia
since: 08/2011
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