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  The Straits Times 25 Nov 05
Cut waste and get green label for office
by Stephanie Yap

MS MASAYO Hada does not have her own wastepaper basket by her desk at Ricoh Asia Pacific. Instead, the Japanese assistant manager takes her trash to a set of recycling bins in a corner, which she shares with 54 other employees of the office equipment supplier. 'It was a real headache at first,' she said, but now employees have got used to it.

It helped the company cut down on waste and expense even though it is using more costly recycled paper now.

Ms Hada was speaking at the inaugural presentation yesterday of the Green Office Label, given by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC).

To qualify for the label, offices should conform to environmentally friendly guidelines set out by the SEC's Project Eco-Office. The label is valid for two years.

Other label recipients include the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the National Environment Agency (NEA), and City Developments. The last is a co-developer of Project Eco-Office.

SEC executive director Howard Shaw said: 'It is beneficial these days to be seen as an environmentally conscious corporation. Also, not wasting resources means real savings in operating costs.'

Ricoh Asia Pacific, which started going green in 2003, saved about $3,900 for the 2003 financial year, and about $3,978 for the 2004 financial year. This is despite the fact that it switched from using virgin pulp paper, which costs $3.90 a ream, to recycled paper, which costs $5.50 a ream.

Meanwhile, at NEA, the staff are trying to do away with using paper altogether. 'All meetings of senior management are paperless,' said Ms Michelle Lee, deputy director of corporate development. 'We take our laptops to every meeting.'

She admitted that as an environment agency, it is NEA's duty to lead by example. 'We are in the Environment Building - we have to walk the talk.'

Organisations interested in Project Eco-Office can learn more at www.ecooffice.com.sg.

Related articles on Singapore: reduce, reuse, recycle
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