These days, there is a huge emphasis on trying to safeguard the environment through a variety of ‘green’ friendly methods designed to reduce our carbon footprint. Millions of people have made a concerted effort to recycle, reduce energy consumption and drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. Though the workplace was initially slow to respond to these eco friendly activities, more and more companies have embraced the idea of a ‘green’ office. If you’re working somewhere that isn’t up-to-speed with going ‘green’, here are a few easy tips to create an eco-friendly office.
One of the easiest ways to design your office in a more eco friendly way is to purchase furnishings that are used or restored. Each year, millions of chairs, desks and tables are dumped in landfills, which is a drain on the environment and a waste of resources. If more companies bought used furniture, it would reduce office product waste that adds to the world’s landfills.
This one’s pretty basic, but easy to do and highly effective. Recycle everything you can, and you’d be surprised the number of items that are recyclable. Pens, paper, furniture, ink cartridges, computers, printers and office phones are just a few of the office supplies that are recyclable. Set up a recycling program in the office that makes it easy for workers to recycle, and reminds them to do so. Simple things like offering recycling canisters and bins in the office can go a long way. Recycling also includes using products that have been recycled. For example, instead of buying that expensive printing paper, think about buying recycled paper and printing on both sides to reduce ink consumption. This can also include paper plates, paper cups, paper knives, forks and spoons that are available in office kitchens.
Most offices have kitchens or break rooms where employees can eat snacks, have lunch and wash their utensils. Don’t skimp on transforming this space into an eco friendly location. Think about filtering your water to discourage employees from bringing plastic water bottles to work. Use recycled products for your coffee and tea makers, and change the flow of the water in the sink to reduce waste.
Travelling to work in cars is one of the largest causes of traffic congestion and smog that affects our environment. Encourage employees to carpool or bike to work by offering incentive programs that reward such activity. You can even offer prizes for workers who buy a hybrid vehicle. Make it easy for workers to car share or travel by public transport by arranging flexible time schedules.
Remind workers to turn off lights when they leave the bathroom or kitchen. Instead of office computers being left on ‘sleep,’ require that all hardware be turned off at the end of the day. In the winter, turn the thermostat as low as possible before letting the heat come on. During hot summers, turn up the thermostat as high as you can so that the air conditioning isn’t always running.
By taking these small, simple steps, you will have a more eco friendly office in no time.
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