Going green in our daily lives has never been more important, but doing so at home is not enough… Consider the fact that most people spend much of their waking life in their workplace. So while it’s great that you have instituted eco-conscious changes at home, it’s critical that you do the same in your office.
Not only will going green help your workplace become more productive and healthy, it will also be great for the company’s bottom line.
So, whether you are part of the management team or just a regular employee who’s passionate about the environment, here are 10 simple ways you can get your workplace to go green.
1. Conserve Energy
The key tool in the modern office is the computer. Saving energy while using the device could make a massive difference to the sustainability of the workplace. You can save more than just a modest amount of energy simply by using the energy optimizing features built into the device.
Set your computers to automatically save energy and to dim the screen more frequently and you will notice a massive amount of money saved on your electricity bill as well. Remind your employees to switch off their computers while leaving the building as computers on standby mode continue to draw power.
2. Use Green Paper
If you must buy paper for work, try to use recycled paper with a high percentage of actual recycled material and low bleaching with chlorine. But keep in mind that the recycling of paper itself uses a lot of energy, water and chemical resources, so try to go paperless as much as possible.
The greenest paper you can use is no paper at all – cut down on your use of paper by digitizing all your files and uploading them to one of the many cloud services now available. The more work that gets done online the less paper is needed and the more trees are saved.
4. Commute Greener
The average American worker spends 47 hours a year commuting. This means that 23 billion gallons of gas and 3.7 billion hours are wasted annually going to and from work. According to Jon Wikstrom, the founder of Cool Clean Technologies and a leader in environmental business practices and manufacturing, we can ease this strain on the environment by encouraging your team to make arrangements for carpooling, use public transport, bike or even walk to work.
5. Green Dry Cleaning
In most companies around the world, professional dress is the norm… which means that dry cleaning is also the norm. But many aren’t aware of the fact that PERC, short for Perchloroethylene, the chemical used in dry cleaning, has been deemed by the EPA to be a carcinogen that’s harmful to workers and the planet.
Fortunately, there are greener options – encourage your employees or coworkers to bring their work wear to a special green dry cleaner that uses CO2 cleaning technology to clean clothes in a more eco-friendly way. Go one step further and bring your own reusable garment bags so you can avoid throwing away plastic bags.
6. Work from Home
Having fewer people using office resources and commuting to and from work is a great way to cut down on your company’s impact on the planet. Thanks to the internet, the cloud and a myriad of online applications, effective telecommuting is entirely feasible. Even if you can’t implement telecommuting on a grand scale in your workplace, you may want to consider letting every employee work from home one day a week.
7. Use Green Materials
For nearly every physical supply in your office, there’s likely a green or recycled alternative. Talk to the office manager about making the switch to things like biodegradable soaps, recycled paper, eco-friendly cleaning supplies and even furniture that incorporates recycled materials.
8. Redesign The Workplace
Making the workplace green could be as simple as choosing the right furniture and lighting. Consider high-end LED lights and ample use of daylight in the office to help save energy. It may be as simple as raising the blinds so you don’t have to turn on lights during the middle of the day.
Get your employees to pack lunch from home in reusable containers. It is the single greenest way to eat while at work. Sometimes it may be unavoidable to order food, but keep in mind that whenever you do, you’re producing unnecessary waste when you throw away all of the packaging.
10. Seriously Commit to Recycling
While most offices do have some sort of recycling program, many are not very faithful to it… not because they don’t care but because they don’t really know what can be recycled and where stuff should go.
Consider appointing a recycling committee whose charge it is to educate the team and to come up with ideas that will help people participate actively in the program. One way to start might be to give every employee a small recycling bin to put next to their garbage can – little changes like this one that can have a big effect.
Going green is really as simple as that – though there are a lot more you can do, these 10 changes give you a great place to start improving the sustainability of your office.
Reference: Many thanks to Jon Wikstrom for providing useful information for this post. He is the founder of Cool Clean Technologies, a leader in environmental business practices, CO2 cleaning technology and manufacturing.