Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
by Patricia Jordan
More and more businesses are learning that going “green” and implementing environmentally sustainable practices makes good sense. In 1991, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) adopted an environmental resolution policy urging lawyers to be environmentally responsible in the workplace by following the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. Subsequently in 1993, the CBA published Eco-Practicum: The Canadian Bar Association Guide to the Environmentally Responsible Law Office. The CBA recently launched an initiative to update the Eco-Practicum.
Doing Our Part
The Canadian Bar Association B.C. Branch (CBABC) has been “green” for several years. CBABC uses recycled paper, returns used toner cartridges to the manufacturer, and recycles bottles, cardboard, paper and plastics by Urban Impact Recycling Ltd (www.urbanimpact.com).
A “Green” Strategy
The first step of a “green” strategy is to evaluate how your activities impact the environment. Can you recycle everything that cannot be reused? Are your new purchases recyclable? Are you able to move to a paperless practice? What do you do with used batteries, old computer equipment, ink cartridges, paper, etc.? How can you reduce energy consumption?
Most businesses have energy expenses that can be reduced by incorporating energy efficiency into the way they do business. One easy step is to turn off lights, computer and office equipment when not in use, and to use energy-saving modes on computers. Laptop computers use 50 per cent less energy than desktop computers. One step you can take for office paper management includes printing, copying and generating fewer documents, and switching to double-sided printing and copying to reduce the amount of paper used.
Purchase “Green” Products
The Environmental Choice Program (www.ecologo.org), launched by the Canadian federal government in 1988, sets standards and certifies products in more than 120 categories. The program provides consumers with assurance that the products and services bearing the EcoLogoM meet environmental standards that have been verified by a third party auditor. When purchasing photocopiers, fax machines and printers, ensure they have the “ENERGYSTAR®” label.
Did you know?
- BarTalk is now printed on recycled paper.
- Canada is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world on a per capita basis.
- Canadians are one of the world’s biggest per capita consumers of energy and electricity.
- Most rechargeable batteries can be recharged up to 1,000 times.
- Over 90,000 computers have been donated to libraries and schools in British Columbia since 1994.
- More than 43 per cent of cell phone users replace their cell phones every two years.
Any “green” steps you can take will help minimize your impact on the environment. For detailed information about recycling and resources in British Columbia, visit www.cba.org/bc/practice_resources/main/green_your_business.aspx (requires a CBA member number).
Patricia Jordan is the CBABC Web Manager. She welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions. Tel: 604-646-7861; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the October 2008 issue of BarTalk. © 2008 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.