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How to go green as a freelancer


Going green nowadays is on top of most everyone’s list. You may decide to make your lifestyle eco-friendly as a family, a student or a company. And – as you know – this is definitely worth the investment in time, money and effort.

But what if you are an independent, freelancing professional?

You may not always have a steady flow of resources to go as green as you would like. Or you may not yet have many practical ideas as to how to do so.

Below are a few pointers which may be useful and are not costly. They come from the little, yet intense, experience as a freelancer over the last ten months. (I’m actually writing this post sitting in Tirana’s International Airport waiting for my flight back home following a business trip). Happy reading!

At home

  • Workspace. Make sure your home office gets lots of natural light so you don’t need too much of the artificial one. Always make space for recycling bins, and separate paper from plastic and glass. Use plants to make your office more welcoming and relaxing. They also help you to feel “greener” and actually give your productivity and inspiration a boost. Invest in a comfortable office chair made of recycled natural fabrics and materials. This will help you keep cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • Stationary. Go digital as much as you can. Whether you need to take notes, jot down phone messages or sketch, use the immense varity of apps now available. If you really can’t avoid paper use – and some of it is necessary – go for recycled paper. When you throw it out, remember to use the recycling bin.
  • Food. Ditch the convenience food you may go for. Instead, opt for healthy snacks you can make on your own like homegrown fruit and salads or homemade hummus. Pair them with matcha or tap water to keep hydrated and alert.


  • Pack light. Research shows that carbon emissions increase with luggage weight. Pack the essentials and have fun while traveling with less.
  • In flight. Large airlines are becoming increasingly sensitive to carbon emissions in flight. In fact, while booking your ticket, you can now opt to fly carbon neutral or on aircrafts using sustainable biofuels. Biodegradable cups, plates and silverware are more and more common, especially on long-haul trips. Before boarding, check in with mobile apps to save trees by not printing boarding passes.
  • Business cards. Many online companies offer to print business cards on recycled paper. They look beautiful, are eco-friendly and make for an awesome conversation subject on long flights. You can also recycle your own paper directly at home then print your cards (with soy ink) on your own. You can’t get any more green than that!
  • Water. Travel with resuable bottles to reduce plastic waste.
  • Sleep green. Whether you decide to go for homesharing or not, you can save on light, air conditioning and heating by switching these off when you leave your room. Reuse your towels for several days before having them changed.
  • Moving around cities. Getting lost in a new city is the best way to learn how to get around it, so choose to walk out in the sunshine (or rain).  If distances are too much to cover on foot, go for carpooling.

Any other ideas you may want to contribute on how to go green as a freelancer? We’d love to hear from you!

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thank you!

Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

1 Comment

  1. I carry my spork with me so I don’t need to take a new set of plastic utensils with every meal on the go. In the future, I’m hoping to find a reusable plate or take out box that I could use instead of the daily styrofoam atrocity!

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