Many workplaces use outdated practices that aren’t entirely environmentally friendly. With these seven tips everyone can play a part in shrinking your office’s carbon footprint and saving the environment—save your company a few bucks, too.
Get Everyone on Board
The first and most important is getting everyone in the office to participate. Colleagues may hesitate at the idea of changes, thinking it may create more work for them. Try to make greening the office a smooth transition; for example, set the office printer to default print double-sided. Put up reminders to recycle or turn off the lights. Declare an office-wide challenge to see which department can recycle the most paper per month. With everyone in the office ready to take part, you can begin to make the office (and the world) a little greener.
Avoid printing out agendas for every meeting, and opt for sharing information using email or PowerPoint instead. As for employee manuals—posting them online can help employees from losing them and makes access easier. Increasing the amount of digital storage devices and systems for workplaces can make going digital very stress-free.
Save on Electricity
Swap incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient lighting. Place reminders up in the office to turn off equipment and lights at night. Use natural light when possible. Computers still use energy even when the monitor is dark; use a power strip so employees can fully shut down their computer, printer, and desk light with the flip of a switch.
Make the Daily Commute a Little Greener
Consider allowing authorized employees to telecommute, which could save on gas and time spent in traffic. You could also organize employee carpools for those who need to come into the office. Another option—suggest to employees the chance to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days and they’ll reduce time spent in their daily commute by 20 percent.
Buy in Bulk Save in Green
Buy in volume to reduce shipping and packaging waste and reduce fossil fuels used during delivery. The amount of energy it takes to get even a small package from the wholesaler to your office is substantial. You could also consider recycling old printer ink or toner and purchase remanufactured ones in large quantities. These steps could not only help the environment, but could help your finances in the long run.
Carrying lunch to work in reusable containers is a great way to be greener and eat healthier at work. Getting delivery and takeout may be tempting, but the unnecessary extra packaging can really add up. Of course it’s almost impossible to nix delivery completely. Maybe you were running late and forgot to pack a lunch, or maybe you’re really craving some Chinese takeout. So, if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order, which can save on both delivery fee and the emissions of multiple cars driving to the same place.
Save the Paper (And the Trees)
When purchasing printer paper, aim for recycled paper that has little chlorine bleaching. Recycling paper is great, but the process requires a lot of energy and resources. Print on both sides of the page whenever possible and recycle misprints yourself by using them as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office mails packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.