Greener options when labor laws change

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor released revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that will go into effect on January 16, 2009. For an overview of the changes, please read New FMLA rules: What  you need to know.

This latest set of labor law changes will require every employer covered under the FMLA to hang new posters and acquire updated forms. Existing labor law handbooks and manuals will have to be replaced with newer versions to reflect the most recent changes.

As these FMLA changes go into effect, businesses across the country will be throwing away millions of sheets of paper and stacks upon stacks of labor law posters. Most of the labor law posters out there are laminated, therefore un-recyclable, and only a small fraction of the discarded materials will be recycled.

With dozens of labor law changes each year, this process repeats over and over, wasting more paper and adding to the size of our growing landfills. Because these changes are mandatory, it’s difficult for business owners to think there’s anything they can do to change it.

Thankfully, those at Tread Softly on the Earth recently shared some green tips on how businesses can stay in compliance with mandatory changes while reducing their carbon footprint. Here are just a few:

  • Explore recycled and recyclable options. We’re seeing more and more recycled labor law posters and resources available on the market every day. Providers like have developed state and federal posters made entirely with recycled materials.
  • Go paperless, if possible. Choose downloadable or printable versions when replacing your mandatory forms. Go a step further and print your forms on recycled paper using soy or vegetable ink.
  • Buy or print the minimum. Reduce the amount of waste in your workplace by only purchasing or printing the forms and papers you really need.

Read the full list of green compliance ideas.

It may take just a little more work on your part, but your impact on the earth will be big. Find greener ways for your company to do business and we’ll all succeed.

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