If you are looking for ways to make your office more environmentally friendly and to incorporate greener policies into your company’s operations, then you need look no further than these five steps to help you make strides towards becoming a more eco-friendly office.
Of course there is more you can do, but these five pointers will give you a head start on your way to becoming a more environmentally responsible business.
1. Use Electricity Wisely
When it comes to switching things off, it has become commonplace in the household, but the workplace still lags far behind in this respect. Turning off a printer, a computer and a coffee machine can become commonplace with a few simple changes of habit. Even getting people into the habit of switching off lights if they are leaving a room for more than a few minutes can be accomplished with little effort. Make people aware of your efforts, and why you’re doing it, and they will follow suit and do the same.
Changing the bulbs you use in lights can also be advantageous. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones and take advantage of natural lighting as much as is possible.
Checking that all computers and monitors are running on their most energy efficient settings when they are in use is a great way to help save energy too.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Establishing the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign in your workplace is a great way of lowering your company’s carbon footprint.
To reduce the waste you produce, you can encourage people to;
- Think before they buy – try and buy products with less packaging.
- Think about whether they really need to print out their work. If they do really need to print out work make sure that they print on both sides of the paper or use the unprinted side for scrap.
- Buy products sold in refill packs or concentrated products.
- Use low energy light bulbs and rechargeable batteries.
- Try not to pick up a plastic bag every time they buy something from the shop.
- Try to avoid individually packed biscuits or sweets.
After spending time to reduce the waste your office will produce, think about how you can reuse items and prevent them from becoming landfill. Here are a few ways you can do this;
- Buy milk from the milkman. Each glass milk bottle can be reused up to 20 times.
- Go to the shops with a reusable shopping bag instead of taking plastic bags from every shop.
- Use envelopes again by putting a sticker over the previous address – remember you will need to put new stamps on it!
- Always use both sides of a piece of paper before you recycle it.
- Reuse old paper that cannot be written on any more to make papier mache models or even your own recycled paper.
- Use plastic margarine and yoghurt pots for paint and glue or for growing seeds.
- Use refillable pens instead of disposable ones.
- Buy rechargeable batteries and refillable print cartridges.
Recycling is the final stage in the waste hierarchy and after you have reduced your level of waste and reused many items, recycling is the next best step to take. By recycling and encouraging others to do the same, you will be helping to retain resources and protecting the earth from unnecessary mining of yet more raw materials. The recycling industry also employs thousands of people across the country, so you’ll be keeping people in jobs.
3. Use Eco-Friendly Products
To maintain your now eco-friendly ethos at your business, it can help to use eco-friendly products within your business. From recycled stationery to eco pens and pencils. There are a number of products available for all types of businesses. This is a list of just a few different types of products you could use in your business;
- Recycled paper products – from envelopes to cups and plates, all manner of paper is used in a business environment, so making the switch should be straightforward.
- Eco pens – biodegradable pens made from recycled and recyclable materials is a beneficial way of making the eco-friendly change in your office.
- Non-toxic cleaning agents – There are plenty of green solutions available for cleaning your office, so why not switch to a greener option.
- Composting rubbish bags – there are thousands of rubbish bags added to landfill sites on a daily basis, why not make yours a biodegradable option and make your waste part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
- Solar USB chargers – Why not charge your offices portable devices on a solar power bank and not rely on the burning of fossil fuels to keep your batteries charged while on the go.
- Staple free staplers – Why not use the paper itself to hold the pages of a document together, rather than a single use metal staple.
- Smart power strips – A smart power strip will stop a device from receiving power when it is not in use, and will help prevent the waste of electricity.
- Recycled pencils – Swathes of forest are cut down in order to make wooden pencils, so why not buy pencils made of recycled materials to reduce the impact on our forests and help make your office a greener environment.
- Biodegradable packaging and packaging tape – Not only are these products compostable, but they are lightweight and can help you cut down on shipping costs.
4. Use as little paper as possible
Many businesses nowadays are going paperless, but if you aren’t able to go paperless in your office, why not try reducing the amount of paper you use by sharing documents online using Google Docs and other similar sharing software.
If your company data is sensitive you could also look at using a company who will recycle the paper once the information has been destroyed or shredded.
Don’t forget, if your office is using paper towels in the bathrooms they should look at switching to hand dryers as they are not only more hygienic, but more environmentally friendly too.
5. Look at Telecommuting And Encourage Other Forms of Transport To and From Work
While it may not be feasible for some companies, it may be suitable for yours. The advances in modern technology allow for some businesses to operate remotely, with employees working from home on certain days, or permanently to ensure there are reduced carbon emissions and one less person creating waste in the office. This shift may prove enormously beneficial to the environment in the long run.
Take a look at these options and assess for yourself which of these is feasible for your business and see how many of the ideas you can implement. Every little will help to ensure our natural environment is preserved for the future of the human race and the animals we share this planet with.