How to Green Your Office
By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow
We’ve written many articles on how you can make your home greener, but what about your office? In 2016 in the U.S., people spent roughly 7.99 hours a day at work. During the course of our lifetime, assuming an average lifespan of 78 and working between the ages of 18-65, we spend between 15-35% of our lives at work! So why not make that space green and sustainable as well? Small changes made by individuals can make a huge difference and inspire others to do the same. Here are some of our favorite tips to help you green your office!
Instead of printing reports or notes, email them or upload them to the cloud so everyone can access them. If you don’t have to print them, then don’t! You can even sign documents electronically! Having software that allows easy sharing of documents can save money in the long run by reducing the need for paper and therefore reducing paper-related expenses. Pages printed with mistakes can be used as scratch paper or recycled. If you absolutely have to have printed copies, print on both sides.
Purchase office supplies made of recycled material.
Today, you have many choices when it comes to purchasing office supplies made from recycled materials. You can get paper made from recycled products or pens made from recycled plastic. There are pencils made from sustainable wood sources. Refillable ink cartridges are also a great option. Not only are they better for the environment, but it’s often cheaper to refill versus purchasing a whole new ink cartridge. Sometimes, supplies made from recycled materials can be less expensive than their name-brand counterparts made from non-recycled material!
LED light bulbs are becoming the norm, so make the switch! Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and cost more money to light. LEDs use 25-80% less power, cut electricity costs, and last up to 25 times longer. It’s a win-win-win! To save energy, have the last person to leave the room or the office turn the lights off. You can even switch your lighting system to be motion-activated so the lights automatically shut off when someone leaves the room.
When everyone leaves work at the end of the day, turn your computers off completely instead of leaving them on standby. while in standby or sleep mode. This may not seem like a lot, but with a multitude of computers it can be a big waste of energy and money.
Styrofoam has many adverse effects on the environment and it takes centuries to break down. Instead of stocking the break room with single-use Styrofoam cups and bowls, get reusable plates, bowls, mugs, etc. Encourage employees to bring their own or invest in a set as a company. Using reusable utensils costs more initially, but will save you money in the long run as you no longer need to purchase single-use cups, utensils, etc. Often, businesses provide paper towels for drying one’s hands in a bathroom or kitchen. As an eco-friendly alternative, try having cloth towels that get washed frequently. They’re reusable and will save money in the long run by reducing the need to purchase paper towels.
Cleaning the office isn’t often considered, but is an essential component of the workplace environment. To make it easier on the environment and the atmosphere as a whole, try buying eco-friendly cleaning supplies. From biodegradable degreasers to natural dish detergent, there are plenty of options. These chemicals are less harsh for the environment and in turn are also less harsh on employees’ overall health.
Try going green by adding some actual green to your space! Having plants in one’s office can be a real advantage. They not only help clean the air by removing carbon, but they also look nice and improve the overall ambience of the office space.
Help people at your establishment have a conversation about making the office greener during Green Office Week! Green Office Week has raised awareness about sustainable choices businesses can make since 2009. Each day has a different focus:
- Monday – Energy (reducing the amount of office energy consumed)
- Tuesday – Transportation (carpooling, biking, public transportation)
- Wednesday – Waste (emphasis on reduce, reuse, recycle)
- Thursday – Purchasing (promoting eco-friendly products and services)
- Friday – Innovation (sharing of ideas between co-workers on how to go green)
Having discussions can be the gateway to seeing real environmentally-friendly changes in the office. Help us make green make sense!
For more ways to green your life, read some of our other blogs: