When it comes to going green, we receive a ton of messages about how we can recycle, conserve water, eat less meat, and so on. But what about our work environment? Is there anything we can do to make for a more eco-friendly office?
Whether you’re a small business owner, a large corporation, or an individual who works from home, there are plenty of ways to go green at the office. Here’s what we recommend.
This might seem a simple enough concept, but you’d be surprised at how many offices and workplaces still don’t provide recycling options to their employees. If your office is one of those places, try talking to HR about starting some type of recycling program. Remove individual ‘under desk’ bins and install recycling points.
2. Go Digital
Consider swapping out your desktop computers for laptops – they are much more energy efficient. But regardless of whether you have a desktop or laptop, have a play with your computer’s settings to try and cut its “idle power” in half.
According to a recent NRDC report, computers spend 50 to 77 percent of their time in idle and low-intensity active modes and draw much more power than necessary in them. “If all computers achieved a 30 percent average energy reduction, U.S. consumers could save $3 billion a year, reduce electricity use by 29 billion kilowatt-hours annually—equal to the power consumed by all the households in the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago combined—and keep 20 million metric tons of climate-disrupting carbon pollution out of the atmosphere, all with zero impact on computer performance or user convenience.” Reducing your computer’s energy usage and carbon pollution seems a simple enough change to make, especially when you’re not even using your computer.
3. Greener Office Supplies
Before your office orders its next round of supplies, suggest some eco-friendly options instead. From recycled paper to reusable pens, seed paper business cards to eco-friendly USB drives, you’d be surprised at the amount of positive environmental changes you can make at your office and for the environment with just a few simple changes.
We’re in the “digital age” after all, so instead of using tons of paper and folders, try storing your files digitally. Even important documents such as contracts can now be signed electronically. The more you do online, the less you need paper, pens, calendars, and other types of stationery that will inevitably end up in our landfills.
If you have a water cooler or dispenser at work, suggest that your office orders compostable cups or better yet, how about abolishing single-use cups all together? In doing so, it would force the employer and their employees to use reusable cups for water – reducing the amount of waste going to our landfills, while also saving the company money, too.