Greta Thunberg and millions of youth activists from around the world are rising to demand that global leaders address and stop climate change. However, in our little ways, we can still help the fight by making sustainable choices in our everyday lives. That includes incorporating more eco-friendly changes within the workplace.
From simply turning off the lights to going paperless, here are some things that can help make your office greener:
In places where people use tons of supplies such as in the office, recycling should be a standard. However, many workspaces still do not have the appropriate know-how and facilities to enable recycling.
The first step to encourage a green lifestyle within the office is to buy recycling bins. Some online stores sell recycling bins with labels to help employees separate plastic cups and bottles from paper and other waste. This eliminates the risk of cross-contamination, which makes certain items not suitable for recycling.
Search for ways to properly dispose of electronic wastes such as batteries and ink cartridges. There are services that collect e-waste and make sure that these items full of precious metals will be recycled.
When buying new office supplies, opt for those that are made from recycled materials if available.
Avoid Single-use Plastic
Encourage employees to bring their reusable lunch boxes and water bottles into the office. Single-use plastic is a global problem; plastic cups and bottles are non-biodegradable and when not disposed of properly, end up in the ocean to form a garbage patch or eaten by marine life.
If possible, give incentives to boost participation or make a game out of it where teams can earn points for refusing single-use plastic.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Offices account for almost 20 percent of all commercial energy use in the United States, according to the World Resources Institute. Because the United States still mostly relies on burning fossil fuel and coal to generate power, reducing the amount of electricity that your office needs could help save the environment from the impending impact of climate change. Moreover, it will lower your energy bill.
Reducing energy consumption can be as easy as turning the computer or air conditioning off when not in use. You can also invest in gadgets that specifically help reduce your energy consumption by letting you monitor usage and adjust based on what you need.
Too often, people print more documents than they need to. A good alternative is to acquire digital storage for businesses and upload documents such as employee manuals. Going digital is not just eco-friendly as it saves you from using a lot of paper; it is also more convenient when you need to make a correction or add an update to the document.
Use Natural Lighting
Artificial lighting accounts for nearly half of an office’s energy consumption. If possible, move workstations near the window.
Studies have also shown that employees who sit near windows are more efficient than those who don’t. Aside from reducing energy consumption and costs, using natural lighting will also boost job performance.
These are simple eco-friendly changes that you can easily incorporate into your office. You can go the extra mile by encouraging employees to go vegetarian/vegan at least once a week or purchase zero-waste gifts during celebrations. Better yet, get an audit of your company’s carbon dioxide emissions and think about how you can offset them.