Use the checklist to see how you can contribute to creating a “greener” work environment.

The goal of an environmentally responsible office is to make the most efficient possible use of resources and reduce waste in order to minimize negative impacts on the environment. This Checklist is provided by the Financial Management Environmental Stewards Team; the Team exists to heighten awareness about resource conservation, consumption reduction, purchasing choices and other practical, environmentally sustainable workplace practices, and to connect with other UW programs and activities having similar purposes. For more information, please feel free to Contact the Team:

Are these environmentally friendly practices used in your office?


  • Print double-sided documents, use economy print settings on printers and copiers, whenever possible.
  • Collect paper that has previously been used on one side and reuse it within the office.
  • Edit documents on-screen rather than printing unnecessary draft copies.
  • Purchase remanufactured toner cartridges and refill or recycle empty toner cartridges.
  • Review subscriptions and cancel those that are no longer necessary or are available electronically
  • Reduce fax-related paper waste at both ends by using a fax cover sheet that is:
    • reusable (a laminated sheet, with a dry ink pen that can be easily erased); or
    • printed on paper previously used on one side;
    • only one-half or one third of a page (rather than a full 8½" x 11" sheet).
  • Use document formats that minimize unused space on each page (for example, narrow margins).
  • Use reusable cloth or stainless steel coffee filter in office coffee makers.
  • Use personal mugs instead of paper. Iif using a paper cup put it in the compost only if it is a compostable cup. Not all paper cups are compostable because they have a plastic lining that doesn’t break down into compost.
  • Recycle glass, cans, newspapers, corrugated cardboard and compostable items. Kitchen paper towels can be composted; restroom towels and facial tissues are not acceptable.
  • Purchase reusable and durable supplies, such as rechargeable batteries and mechanical pencils.
  • Purchase products with the maximum post-consumer recycled content available. Copy and printer should be 100% recycled content, other paper should be,  unbleached, 30% - 100% post consumer waste recycled content or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
  • Purchase products with minimal packaging, including, for example:
  • Consolidate orders to achieve bulk discounts and order consolidation
  • Form a coffee club and purchase coffee, cream and sugar in bulk rather than individual portions.


  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn off computer equipment, including printers, at the end of the day
  • Unplug cell phone chargers when not being used
  • Turn off calculators, speakers, heaters, fans at the end of the day


  • Order supplies in bulk with weekly or biweekly delivery. Vendors may offer additional discounts for order consolidation.
  • Ensure suppliers deliver in fuel-efficient vans.
  • Use public transportation, bicycle, carpool or telecommute


Is your office equipment with the following: 

  • Energy Star/EPEAT rated products
  • Photocopiers with automatic double-sided capabilities so that double-sided copies can be made quickly and easily.
  • Photocopiers with an energy-saving automatic stand-by feature.
  • Printers with double-sided capabilities and set printer to default to duplex.
  • An area for exchanging used supplies such as binders, scissors, padded envelopes and file folders.
  • Plants at workstations – plants act as air filters and can absorb some pollutants
  • Greenguard certified furniture. Many furniture products release gases such as formaldehyde into the air; Greenguard certified products are tested to ensure emissions meet acceptable Indoor Air Quality standards.
  • When requirements arise for items such as office furniture and larger equipment, check UW Surplus Property for used items first. If purchases must be made, opt for equipment that is durable and can be easily repaired.


20 checkmarks and above: Congratulations, your office is already green!

Under 20: Your office has plenty of options for improvement. Try making small changes such as purchasing paper with a higher recycled content or adding more recycle bins to your office. UW Recycling provides recycle bins for paper, can/bottles, compostable waste, and electronic media. 

UW Surplus Property
UW Fleet Services
UW Recycling
Energy Star a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
Epeat a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes.
Green Seal provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace.
Forest Stewardship Council coordinates the development of forest management standards throughout the U.S., provides public information about certification and FSC, and works with certification organizations to promote FSC certification in the U.S.
GreenGuard  establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings.