The Easy Way To A Waste-Free Workplace
Reducing your eco-footprint while at work can be a challenge, but there are ways to make sure your progress isn’t stunted by your 9-5. While you can’t always control the environmental impact of your office, you can control how you contribute to it. Speak to your boss or if you are the boss, lead by example with these simple, sustainable and cost-saving everyday changes.
Paper is often the most obvious culprit, particularly if you work in an office. But luckily, it’s also the easiest to curtail. With the advancement of technology, in many cases paper is no longer necessary, but even with that; printing, copying, mailing, all of these things build-up, so any attempt to reduce them is worthwhile. Make a start with these easy and ecological tips.
Try to go paperless, start by making a list of when you do and don’t need paper. The average office worker is said to use 10,000 sheets of paper a year, 6800 of which are wasted. So say no when you can and in times of necessity, try to keep the amount you use to a minimum.
Cut out drafts, with the ability to share and co-edit documents online there is no need for printed drafts. Try to do all of your edits online before you consider printing. Having a paper copy can be nice, but to stick to one at most, multiple printed drafts are both costly and environmentally harmful. If it’s unavoidable, stick to recycled paper and try to print on the unused sides of otherwise discarded paper.
If you or your staff have to regularly attend meetings or pitches, opt for powerpoints presentations over paper handouts. Not only are they proven to be more engaging, they can also cut down on your paper consumption.
Similarly, both for the environment and your own peace of mind, always store files digitally. Not only will this free up space in the office, but it also makes routing through old projects significantly less painful.
For any documents that do need to be printed, always use double-sided paper, single spacing, narrow margins and recycle it when it’s no longer needed. Recycling one tonne of paper saves on average 7000 gallons of water and 17 trees. So, make the green choice.
The next biggest contributor is transportation. Solo commuting on average accounts for 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Making the switch to walking, bikes or public transport can notably reduce your carbon footprint.
For employers, offering bike to work schemes, secure parking for bikes or even incentives or green commuters can be a great way to tackle your environmental goals. Additionally, cutting back on work trips, opting for video conferences instead of overseas meetings is the biggest way you can contribute to a greener future.
In 2020, many of us are becoming more environmentally aware, so why not reach out to like-minded colleagues to set up a carpool scheme or even a zero waste task force. Environmental action has greater impact when we cooperate.
Rethink your Office
In terms of in office changes you can make, electricity use should factor high in your priorities. Small changes in lighting, heating and air conditioning can make a big difference in your energy consumption. If you own your business, start by researching green energy companies in your area, choose one that generates electricity by wind or alternative energy sources. Next make the switch to fluorescent, energy-saving bulbs which are eco-friendly and last much longer than regular bulbs. In addition, ask employees, with the help of the pre-mentioned eco task force, to turn off lights, heating and unplug all devices when they are not in use.
Lastly, for employers; providing simple supplies at work can encourage your workers to make greener choices. Keeping reusable dishes, glasses and tableware in the office will prompt people to bring in their own lunches instead of going for heavily packaged meal deals or deliveries. Install a water fountain instead of stocking up on water bottles. Bulk buy coffee, tea and sugar to discourage workers from doing a daily coffee run. This will help you save money, time and the environment.
Environmental action isn’t easy but it also doesn’t have to be hard. By factoring these changes into your daily habits, you can start to reduce your ecological footprint. Making one green choice everyday significantly contributes to overall health of the planet, and once you have made one it’s easier to make another, and another. Start today for a better tomorrow!