Creating an Ecofriendly Work Place
As an ecofriendly business who takes great initiative in being an active part of the sustainable lifestyle, we think it’s important for not only homes to be ecofriendly, but work places as well. The majority of work places are slowly catching onto to this green wave of sustainability, but the rest of work places, aren’t with the times yet! If you work for a company that doesn’t do their part in being eco-conscious, you can definitely help!
Reducing Paper WasteReducing paper waste is one of the easiest places to start! There are documents that will of course, always have to be printed – but we can reduce this printing efforts dramatically if we made a few tweaks. Print on both sides of the document and use a post-consumer waste paper or recycled paper. Spell check and revise your paperwork BEFORE printing, so that only one version needs to be printed. If you have paper documents that don’t need shredding, cut them down and upcycle the paper into small sheets and use these for personal notes or scratch pad paper. If your company doesn’t recycle – urge them to! American use about 85,000,000 tons of paper per year – this equates to 680 pounds per person. Recycling paper products in the past has saved more than 90,000,000 cubic yards of landfill space, so every paper counts! Designate a paper recyclables only bin (or box) to contribute to reducing paper waste.
Travel via Teleconference
Save on travel time & travel expenses by opting in on video conferencing technology. There are dozens of companies that offer video chatting that make collaborating with team members in other states, and countries, more sustainable and economically efficient. This will not only reduce the company’s cost, but will reduce travel emissions due to flying & driving as well.
Reduce Printer Use
This goes hand in hand with reducing paper waste. Don’t print things that are unnecessary, and create online drafts to preview & read before hitting that final print button. Try printing in black & white whenever you can.
Recycle Your Printer Cartridges
Most people don’t realize that you can actually recycle your printer & toner cartridges. The majority of the time, if you purchase thru companies like Office Depot, they offer a recycling program and charge $0 for doing so. Simply save your cartridges and toners and request a box from your office supply store. There are also many locations that will even pay you in exchange for your empty cartridges.
Invite Nature In
Inviting nature into your workplace can have a big impact on how your company and employees view your commitment to being environmentally friendly. Encourage the use of window opening to let fresh air in instead of pumping the air conditioner. Bring in a few low-maintenance plants – these plants help keep the air clean & purified! Take advantage of energy efficient lighting & encourage the use of motion sensor lighting so lights don’t get left on.
Encourage Healthy Air Flow
Use chemical free or non-toxic cleaning products & encourage staff & coworkers to do the same. Reduce paper towel use by using reusable cleaning cloths to help clean work areas and break room areas. Again, open your windows! Let that fresh air flow! Designate a smoking area for employees who do smoke, away from areas where it can get inside the building.
Break Room Supplies
Break rooms items vary from company to company. Plastic utensils & paper plates are almost always a break room staple. Start bringing your own cutlery & reusable items to eat lunch with. If you must buy, choose a compostable brand of items that will compost down in landfill.
Composting things like food waste & paper towels can help reduce unnecessary landfill waste. Offering a place to compost items like food, paper towels, and coffee grinds can encourage the motivation to keep a green lifestyle outside of the work place as well.
Get rid of the Keurig & Single Brew Coffee Systems
Yes – we know they are quick & easy, but in the big picture, these single serving coffee pods aren’t ecofriendly in any way. With all the packaging from the box it comes in, to the actual pod of coffee, only 1 part of the coffee pod is recyclable, and to do so, you have to pretty much deconstruct the pod and remove the recyclable part and toss the rest in the garbage. They do make reusable coffee pods for these machines – this could be a good present for employees to show them that you are serious on taking your stand on being more environmentally friendly. Best part about the reusable ones is that you can fill it with whatever coffee you like!
Conserve Your Computer’s Energy
A computer is required for many people with a desk job. It’s estimated that people waste over $1 billion in electricity every year just in computer use. To help conserve energy from your work computers, you can invest in an energy saving computer, monitor, or printer. These are usually labeled with an Energy Star label in the USA. You can also adjust your energy saving settings so your monitor & display sleeps & turns off after a certain amount of time of not being in use. Set your computer to sleep mode when you are away from it for short periods of time and turn off your computer when it’s not in use – like leaving work!
There are so many items in your office or work place that you can recycle! If you don’t have one at work – start your own and encourage others to follow. Paper, water bottles, soda cans, etc. Designate a small recycle receptacle by your desk, better yet, talk to upper management about putting one in the break room if your work place doesn't have one yet.
The best time of the day is usually lunch break! By bringing your own lunch to work, you can save a good amount of money by not going out to eat.
- Pack your lunch in a reusable bag or box and if you bring it in a paper or plastic bag – recycle it!
- Use food containers & utensils that can be washed again
- Recycle your water bottles, soda cans, and aluminum foil
- Use a washable & reusable napkin
- Bring your own reusable coffee or water bottle
Traveling green can help reduce carbon dioxide gases that are released into the air that contribute to greenhouse gases. Join a carpool or ride share or take public transit. If you live close enough, get exercise and ride your bike or walk to work. If your work place allows it, see if you can work from home a few days a week – this can reduce your carbon footprint, along with gas cost.
Get Others Involved
Chat it up! Stay involved in your green efforts and encourage others to do so as well. Set up a carpool calendar, contribute your thoughts and actions on getting your workplace to recycle, or recycle better!
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