6 Easy Changes to Make Your Office Go Green
When you have a greener workplace you are leaving a lighter ecological footprint. At the same time, your work environment becomes healthier and you’re more productive. Fortunately, there are some practical steps that you can take to move towards a greener office space, regardless of what your role in the company is.
Reasons to Go Green
First, it’s important to take a look at the facts behind going green. These reasons will help you build a case for making these changes in your office, if and when it’s important to do so. According to TreeHugger, some helpful statistics include:
- There are more than 25 billions of cartons manufactured in the United States. Each of these cartons is only used once.
- Producing recycled paper saves 55% of the water that’s used in producing virgin paper. At the same time, producing recycled paper uses 60 – 70% less energy.
- If every office worker in the U.K. was to use just one less staple every day they could save 120 tons of steel yearly.
- In the United States today we could save 8 billion gallons of gas each year if we’d learn how to carpool.
Not only do we use a lot of office products today, but our businesses are very dependent on technology too.
One of the most popular machines in your office today is the printer. In fact, they’ve actually become a hub for waste creation. While using recyclable paper is helpful here, another way of improving your environmental footprint is by adjusting the settings your printer to print everything two-sided. This will further improve the amount of paper your business is able to conserve and will also make your office staff think twice about what they’re printing. This should prevent them from printing out things that they could easily read on their computer, tablet or smartphone such as their email.
Another machine that everyone in your office is surely using is their computer. The average desktop computer has a power usage of between 80 – 250 watts, depending on graphics cards and any other peripherals it may contain. When you leave a computer on for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year, at a cost of 11c kW/h you’re spending $129.73. This is just for a single computer. An entire office of computers isn’t only costly, but clearly, it makes a huge impact on the environment, which is why you need to find a way to encourage each of your employees to turn their computer off before leaving for the day.
An even better solution is to create a green commute. Unfortunately, the commute has a huge impact on the health of your employees, as well as on the environment itself. Most Americans spend 3.7 billion hours per year commuting which is 23 billions of gas wasted. While you could bike, walk, take public transportation, or carpool, you could also telecommute. This is a totally free and green commute.
While some companies may argue that it’s impossible to let employees telecommute this isn’t true. You can use web conferencing for face-to-face meetings. There are many different types of software to choose from here including Skype and Uberconference. Even if don’t use this tool for telecommuting, you should use it to replace some of your travels. This will save on your carbon footprint and the amount of money and time spent on business travel.
With these statistics in mind, there are two major areas where you’ll want to go green. The first of these places is your office supplies. There are a lot of eco-friendly products available for you to choose from today.
One of the best ways of knowing that you’re choosing the best products here is by looking for their Energy Star rating. This is a program that’s backed by the government’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They specialize in researching energy efficiency then certifying and promoting these products which include things like:
- Bamboo pencils and recyclable pens make a huge impact on the environment because in the United States alone over four million are thrown away daily. When switching to recyclable pens, make sure that they’re also reusable. Make sure that you stock your supply cabinet only with refills for these pens. Not only is this less expensive in the long run but you can also have the pens engraved with each employee’s name. This will encourage them to keep tabs on their pens.
- Recycled printer paper in environmentally friendly. This is important because no matter how hard we try to go digital, we still need paper. The environmentally friendly paper has no chlorine. Instead, it has a lot of post-consumer recycled content that comes from sustainable substances like bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.
- LED light bulbs for desk lamps last longer which not only helps the environment but saves your company money too.
Make sure you keep track of these supplies. The best way of doing so is by having just one or two people directly supervise these supplies, such as the office manager. This will prevent employees from being wasteful. American Express says that you should allow these people to encourage other office workers in their efforts to go green. One way of doing this is by using the money that’s saved in conserving office supplies to throw an office party or cater a lunch for the whole office. Make sure that this process is transparent though so that everyone can take ownership of their contribution here.
Once you’ve used these products, make sure that they’re also being recycled. All it takes is a few colorful recycling bins conveniently placed throughout your office to encourage people to properly dispose of paper, aluminum, plastic, glass and other items once they’re done using them. You should also set up separate bins for items like batteries and ink cartridges.
All of these tips are easily introduced into any office today. Having a sustainability team implement them within your office will make sure that everyone in your business lives up to the greenest of practices and standards today.