squareAsheville has always been green. Late winter and spring rains in the mountains that embrace Asheville inevitably reawaken for another season the countless species of flowers, shrubs, and trees that have called Asheville “home” for centuries. Glorious springs, summers, and falls, each with their accompaniment of all shades of natural beauty, have found their way into the hearts of the many people who live and visit here. Perhaps partly as a result of this keen awareness of just how special Asheville is, Asheville.com has been steadily increasing its efforts to make the necessary changes to lessen its impact on the local environment.

An obvious great choice for a first attempt at reducing Asheville.com’s impact was an effort to reduce our office paper use. Paper, paper, paper – it is everywhere in every office. Invoices, paper cups, paper plates, business mail, junk mail, all sorts of correspondence, and printed materials all add up to one big pile of – paper. So we set ourselves to the task of shrinking that pile.

Our success has been tremendous. We now use ceramic cups instead of disposable ones for our coffee. We use glass or washable plastic plates and utensils for staff members’ birthday cakes. We have found many ways to reuse copy paper (internal record keeping and scrap paper spring to mind) before putting our twice-used paper in recycling boxes, which staff members volunteer to take to the closest recycling center. We save our boxes before offering them to others for reuse or recycling those we have collected.

Interestingly, not only were these changes easy to make, they created a sense of increased “team play” among our staff members.

Inspired by our success, we have moved on to other green changes. As light bulbs burn out, we are replacing them with the new compact florescent bulbs that use much less energy during their lifetime and last for years and years.

As printer cartridges run out, we are getting them refilled instead of just recycling the empty cartridges (in all fairness, we have done that all along!).

A couple of staff members have taken up the standard and are now carpooling to work, not a particularly common occurrence in Asheville, but one that is becoming increasingly popular with today’s high gas prices. They are also seen walking to and from lunch from time to time, instead of driving.

What is your office doing to make Asheville greener? Check out our Green Living guide for ideas and resources, and email us at [email protected] with more suggestions and we’ll post them to share with others. Together we do make a difference.

(Image provided by Asheville.com.)