You do everything possible to make your home more sustainable but what about your office? Lucky for you, it’s easy to add some simple routines into your day that will help lessen your impact on the planet.
Here are 5 ways to go green at work:
1. Getting There
Change the way you get to your office each day. If possible, walk or ride your bike which will not only help to reduce carbon emissions but will give you added health benefits. If you’re not able to walk to work, consider public transportation, carpooling with a colleague or utilizing a car share service like zipcar.
For more information about zipcar, visit http://www.zipcar.com/.
2. Use Less
For many offices, computers are used by virtually everyone so optimizing the energy settings on them can really save energy. Also, turn the computers completely off when you leave for the evening. According to Energy Star, you can make it easier to shut down your desktop for the evening by using a power strip as a central “turn off” point to completely disconnect the power supply. And, it probably goes without saying, turn off all the lights in rooms that aren’t being used.
NOTE: Make sure to power down inkjet printers before turning them off because they need to seal their cartridges before shutting off.
3. Go Paperless
Whenever possible use electronic ways to communicate information: phone calls, emails, overheads and power point presentations and so on. When you need to print, set ‘double sided’ as the default setting on your printer. Also, according to Sustainable Business Toolkit, over 30 percent of print jobs sent to a printer are never collected and ends up getting tossed, so make sure you pick up your documents after you’ve printed them. If you have a say in purchasing office paper, buy products with recycled content whenever possible.
4. Buy Recycled Products
Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.
5. Bring The Outside In
Fill your office with flowers and plants. Bringing the natural world inside has a profound effect on your mood. In a study done in 2010, plants were found to “promote wellbeing, and therefore, potentially performance.” Plants are also instrumental in reducing unhealthy indoor air quality.
If you work in a cubicle at your office, get inspired by this article about the Breathing Partition at https://recyclenation.com/2010/03/fresh-air-office.
Bonus Tip: Start a Sustainable Committee. Team up with like-minded co-workers to create a committee that is focused on energy efficiency, reducing office waste and other sustainable issues that you may find within your organization.
Visit https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/how/10-tips-successful-green-team to get some tips for starting your own “green team.”