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From retail stores to office buildings, warehouses are a relatively common part of a work space. Warehouses are where the dirty work gets done, where the workers get to wear jeans and it's OK because they're working with elbow grease—but not always in an environmentally clean manner. After visiting my father's warehouse at work over the holiday break, I saw firsthand: there's a whole lot of waste involved in packaging, shipping, and receiving materials. Greening up your company's warehouse will not only clear your conscience, but your company will save money, too. Follow these easy tips for greening your warehouse space at work and make a difference from the ground up.

1. Reuse

Reusing seems like an easy eco-concept, right? Right. But it's a concept we often neglect. Warehouses are perfect places to embrace the art of reusing. Some common warehouse items that should be reused before new materials are produced and old ones are wasted:

- Cardboard. Re-address incoming boxes if possible and use again.

- Packaging. Don't throw that bubble wrap out! (And try to use brands like Cor-pak that are biodegradable if you need to use the stuff). Reuse every piece of packaging received. Make sure to also look into eco-friendly packaging.

2. Reduce

Reduce the consumption of resources in your warehouse. It usually takes a lot of electricity to light a warehouse, for example. If you only have the lights on in the parts of the warehouse being used, you'll already be on your way to having a greener warehouse. Use motion sensors where you can. Turn everything off at night.

3. Clean Smart

Keeping warehouses together requires being organized and clean. (And keeping just about anything else together, at that). Keep your warehouse clean with eco-friendly products. Multiple lines of eco-friendly cleaning agents are available these days.

4. Recycle

We all know that recycling is important for our environment, but a lot of people forget about the kinds of items that can be recycled. If there's extra cardboard or paper lying around in your warehouse that cannot be reused, remember that it can be recycled. Work toward having recycling bins that are easily accessible for everyone.

5. Get everyone on board.

Being green is a group effort. Everyone needs to be on the same page about improving the eco-quality of a huge work space like a warehouse. If you've got employees working under you, consider offering incentives to those employees who go out of their way to be green. Employees who are willing to work hard for a good cause, particularly if it's saving the company money, are the kinds of employees you'll want to keep around and they're worth the investment.

Warehouses can be dirty places, but they don't have to be. Sure, greening a warehouse is a bigger task than greening a cubicle, but start small and work your way up. Small improvements add up to big change.