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The R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College

Make Your Office Eco-Friendly

Small actions repeated every day can significantly reduce the environmental  impact of our work. Similarly, what we buy multiplied by the many offices across campus can reduce impacts both on campus and up the supply chain.


Stop waste at its source.

  • Buy and use paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Look for products with minimal packaging. For many products buying larger sizes means less packaging waste, but make sure you can use the larger quantity in a reasonable time period.
  • Invest in equipment and furniture that is high in quality, and is durable and repairable. Check with purchasing for appropriate purchases.
  • Don't buy paper that is a contaminant in recycling, (e.g., thermal fax paper, glossy/plastic coatings, plastic windows in envelopes, bright colors including goldenrod, laser printer inks, and adhesive products).


Choose the reusable alternative to disposable products.

  • Collect paper that has been used on one side and reuse as scratch paper.
  • Reuse envelopes by placing a label over the old address or for larger envelopes; make them into "inter-office" envelopes by attaching this address sheet.
  • Reuse boxes, mailing tubes, and styrofoam "peanuts."
  • Bring reusable dishes, mugs/cups, and silverware to the office instead of disposables.


  • Set up files to save emails instead of printing them out.
  • Proof documents on screen and preview before printing.
  • Use print preview to avoid printing extra pages at the end of the document or having to reprint due to unacceptable page breaks.
  • When copying multiple page documents, make 2-sided copies.
  • If your printer has a duplexer, set it as the default. If you don't have a duplexer, ask IT for information on availability for your printer.
  • Post announcements on bulletin boards or circulate around the office.
  • Circulate memos, reports, and publications.
  • When sending announcements to the campus, send one copy per office instead of copies to individual employees.
  • When laying out publications that will be printed, single space and minimize other blank space to reduce the length of the document.
  • Avoid using cover sheets on faxes.
  • When copying make the minimum you will need, and come back to make more if necessary.
  • Set up computers to automatically print two-sided.
  • Remove duplicate names and out-of-date entries from mailing lists.
  • Take steps to reduce unsolicited mail.
  • Design mailers that avoid the use of envelopes (fold and staple the paper).


  • Each office has both a deskside paper reycling bin and a deskside bin for trash. These bins are emptied by the custodian. If your office is missing a recycling bin, please contact facilities and grounds.
  • If you are cleaning out old files, moving, or otherwise expecting a non-routine surge in paper, please contact facilities and grounds, who can provide extra bags or temporary bins for the extra materials. 
  • If you have confidential records, please contact the business office (ext. 5405) to arrange for on-site shredding of those confidential documents.
  • Recycling bins for bottles and cans are located in common areas, kitchenettes, or other areas across campus.
  • Toner cartridges can be recycled through the duplication center.
  • If you have batteries to recycle, you can tape the terminals with duct or packing tape or put individually in a small plastic bag. Cell phones should also be put into plastic bags and can be collected along with batteries. Collect them in your office until you have 20 or 30, and then contact environmental health and safety for pick-up.

Not in use, turn off the juice!

  • Artificial light accounts for over 40% of electricity use in office buildings. Use natural light when you can, and turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • At the end of the day, turn off all office equipment, including computers, copiers, and printers.
  • Leave lights and electronic equipment off until needed; also, don't turn on all computers in the beginning of the day, and turn them on as needed.
  • Set computer monitors to energy-saving mode so they go to sleep after 20 minutes of non-use. Settings are found at control panel/display/screen saver, or use the Wizard.
  • During breaks, unplug refrigerators and other electronic equipment, turn off all lights, and make sure all windows are closed.
  • If you have a window unit air conditioner, shut it off at the end of the day.
Stay In Touch
With Environmental Health and Safety
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Environmental Health and Safety
Mail Code PP
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002