Being Responsible Starts With You

posted by Boyd Neil

(By Lauren Cozzi, a senior account executive in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, D.C. office)

Working for Hill & Knowlton, I’m fortunate to have a firsthand view of what many leading companies and organizations are doing in the area of environmental responsibility. And while so many corporations and institutions are ‘going green’ and discussing sustainability these days, it’s important to note that responsibility begins with individuals. There is much talk about what we should be doing, but taking action is what makes the difference. By taking a few simple steps and making some slight changes to our daily routines, it can be easy to reduce our environmental impact.

Small things, like turning off the water when brushing our teeth and taking shorter showers, can help conserve water. At home and at the office, recycling, rather than throwing away recyclable items, is another way each of us can minimize input into landfills.  It’s also pretty simple to add a separate container, reserved for paper that can be recycled, next to regular trash bins.

Lately, there has been discussion surrounding plastic water bottles because of the overwhelming increase in our use of them. Using water filters at home and in the office can counteract this. If the use of water bottles cannot be avoided, steps to recycle should be taken to reduce the build up.

Some good Web sites for general information about recycling can be found at:

http://www.re3.org/
http://earth911.org/
http://www.nrc-recycle.org/consumers.aspx
http://www.recyclecurbside.org/
http://www.epa.gov/osw/
http://www.recyclenow.com/

Many companies have pledges and business plans which incorporate responsibility into the business. Especially among the IT industry, individuals have the opportunity to take advantage of what is being offered. Purchasing electronics with eco-labels, like ENERGY STAR® and EPEAT, to name only two, is a great way to buy products with confidence that you limit your environmental impact.

http://energystar.gov/
http://www.epeat.net/Consumers.aspx

Many of these specially-labeled IT products are also designed to use less energy, which saves us money, while helping to protect the environment.

One of the clients I work with, HP, has developed some great energy-saving tips for individuals.

Taking responsibility to do our part is the least each of us can do to preserve our environment. As a public relations professional who works on environmental responsibility issues each day, I’m sensitive to practice what I preach, but the same tips can be helpful regardless of what anyone does. We should each take advantage of the great information resources available to us, which offer ways to minimize our environmental impact. By taking responsibility for our own actions, we can help make a difference for the better in the near future, and for generations to come.

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