Office Sustainability Checklist from the Girardeau Goes Green Advisory Board

This is a checklist any office can use to conserve resources and save money from the Girardeau Goes Green Advisory Board.

Download: Green Office Sustainability Checklist

Waste Prevention Checklist

  • Reuse packaging materials from incoming shipments (bubble wrap, boxes, etc.)
  • Buy supplies in bulk when possible
  • Avoid products with excess packaging
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Donate unwanted furniture, food, and magazines to charitable organizations
  • Use cloth towels and sponges in kitchens rather than paper towels
  • Provide washable utensils and dishes for employees
  • Use reusable containers to pack home-prepared lunches

Paper Reduction Checklist


  • Purchase office paper with a lower basis weight (example: 18-pound copier paper instead of 20-pound)
  • Purchase post-consumer recycled-content paper office supplies (30%, 50%, or 100% recycled)


  • Request paperless billing from suppliers/clients, and send out electronic bills/invoices to customers/clients
  • Review draft invoices electronically, even if the final version is sent as a hard copy to suppliers/clients


  • Reuse single-sided paper (for notepads, draft copies, etc.)
  • Reuse paper office supplies (file folders, large mailing envelopes, cardboard boxes, etc.)
  • Have internal notepads made from outdated letterhead


  • Reduce unwanted mail, and remove your company’s name from direct mailing lists
  • Periodically update mailing lists
  • Use two-way envelopes


  • E-faxing; modify/eliminate fax cover sheets
  • Request vendors/advertisers to refrain from sending unwanted faxes


  • Subscribe to online publications instead of hard copies
  • Circulate hard copy publications around the office with interested staff


  • Use reusable containers instead of cardboard or other packaging for product deliveries


  • Make double-sided printing the default setting for printer/copier devices
  • Only print emails when necessary
  • Use the “print preview” function to optimize print jobs
  • Test multi-copy print jobs before printing the full run
  • Alter your standard templates to maximize useable paper space (shrink margins, etc.)
  • Use “multiple pages per sheet” printing function, especially for drafts
  • Use “track changes” or other electronic editing tools to minimize hand-written editing on hard copies
  • Print only pages that are necessary by selecting specific sections/pages
  • Use scan-to-email function on printer/copier machines

Water Conservation Checklist

  • Post signs that encourage water conservation in kitchens and bathrooms (e.g. turning off water while washing hands and brushing teeth)
  • Inform service providers (laundry, landscaper, dishwasher) that water efficiency is a priority
  • Fix leaks immediately
  • Install high efficiency dishwashers and only run full dishwasher loads
  • Explore whether your property manager is willing to upgrade to high efficiency toilets
  • Use garbage disposals sparingly; compost instead

Energy Conservation Checklist

  • Track energy costs to better understand all the ways your business consumes energy
  • Install automatic thermostats that let you program different settings for different days/times of the week
  • Install motion sensor lights that shut off when no one is in the room
  • Use energy efficient T-8 or T-5 lamps with electronic ballasts
  • Remove any unneeded lighting

Recycle Checklist

  • Check out what can be recycled in Cape Girardeau
  • Work with your property manager to implement a commercial compost collection service
  • Take unwanted electronics to Recycling Center
  • Purchase paper with a high post-consumer recycled-content (100% is ideal)
  • Purchase supplies that contain recycled material
  • Ensure that all employees and customers/clients have easy access to recycling containers

Toxins, Chemicals, and Oils

  • Use Green Seal approved cleaners
  • Use water-based cleaners
  • Track and phase out use of plastics with Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates or other plasticizer additives
  • Create policies to use paint that has a low volatile organic compound (VOC ) content or is VOC-free, to buy carpeting that meets the requirements of the CRI Green Label Testing Program, to buy flooring/composite panels/agrifiber products that contain no ureaformaldehyde resins, and to buy furniture that uses adhesives and sealants with a VOC content less than the current VOC content limits