I don’t know how most people do it, but when I brush my teeth I like to rinse using a cup. I prefer the little dixie paper cups because I can toss it and there’s no mess. As a mom, I love disposable items – no washing necessary. Sounds harmless enough, right? I thought so, until recently when my husband began giving me little “hints” about throwing away so many paper cups. He finally won me over when he explained that he and the guys at work had been discussing what they could do to be more ‘green’ and this was one of the ways they’d come up with.
Now that I knew my husband and ‘the guys’ were discussing the topic at work, I knew it was something I needed to take more seriously. As I began to take a look at our lifestyle I found many things that I could change to make our home a more eco-friendly place. I also realized that overall, working from home may be one of the best eco-friendly decision one can make.
Less Gas – Other than the occasional errand running, telecommuters use their cars much less frequently than their counterparts in the workplace. This, of course translates into less gas usage, less fumes and smog produced, etc. Simply by staying home, they are making the world a cleaner, healthier place.
Less Paper – Businesses today make it very easy to save paper by allowing home-based workers to do most everything online. When my husband does work from home, he’s able to log in securely to his corporate email account, log his time and even download his pay stubs online. I’m fortunate that as a website owner, very rarely do I make use of paper. The occasional document needs printed, but other than that my work-life takes place entirely on my computer.
Less Grease – Home-based workers tend to eat more meals at home than than employees in the corporate world. My lunches usually consist of something simple and easy to make – fruit, a quick sandwich, etc. Compared to the fat and grease of a fast-food meal, a healthy meal at home goes a long way in becoming ‘green.’
More Choice – As the manager of my home, I have the ability to choose the products that are used throughout. Instead of being at the mercy of a large, cost-cutting corporation, I can choose products that are eco-friendly. As a result, our cleaning products are non-toxic; our laundry detergent is “free” from all dyes and colors; and yes, we even have a reusable cup in the bathroom now.
More Time – By avoiding the commute time, home-based workers save themselves a large amount of time. This extra time can be transferred into activities such as recycling – something that people avoid simply because of the time it takes. You may even have extra time for a nap – in which case you can turn the lights off and save electricity.
The St. Petersburg Times agrees. In a recent column titled, 5 things you can do to combat climate change, author Ann-Gayl Ellis notes five things ways that you can take action and become more eco-friendly. Ellis’ second action step states, “Leave the car at home one day and take public transportation instead. Walk or bike. If you need to drive, carpool. If you can, telecommute.”
Once you begin to look at the benefits of telecommuting, especially in a ‘green’ home, it becomes clear that is an eco-friendly choice. You have more control over each aspect of your life as well as the authority to purchase the necessary products. The additional benefit of living a green lifestyle as a home-based worker is the example set for your children. Our kids model what they hear and see. The healthier our lives, the better chance they’ll grow up to environmentally conscious as well.