We all know that the environment is important, but what can we do as businesspeople to help save it? In this article, I'll show you some ways in which you could make your office more eco-friendly.
Recycle. Recycling is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. You can recycle paper, plastic, glass and metal as well as electronic waste, batteries and food waste in your office. If you have an outside space for it, you should also recycle garden waste and clothing.
Switch off computers, printers (including the photocopier) and other office equipment at the end of each day.
It’s important to turn off computers and other office equipment at the end of each day. This will save energy and reduce costs, as well as reducing the risk of damage to your equipment. It’s good for your business – so why wouldn’t you do it?
Car-pooling is a great way to reduce the number of cars on the road and cut down on pollution. You can set up a car-pooling scheme at your office with just a few simple steps:
Consider using electronic means for meetings whenever possible. Meetings can be a big drain on the environment, both in terms of money and carbon emissions. It's better to use Skype or email than travel to see your colleagues in person, especially if you only need to see them once or twice per month.
Recyclable waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you produce, but it's important that you sort your recyclables correctly. It's easy to just throw everything in a bin and think "I'll take care of sorting it later", but this can lead to problems later on. If you're not sure what items are recyclable, here's a quick overview:
As we've discussed, you can't recycle a lot of office furniture and equipment. It might be tempting to just dump it in the bin and forget about it—but think about it: there are plenty of people who could benefit from donation drives, including charities, schools and community groups.
If you'd like to donate your unwanted items to charity shops, check out Find a Charity on Charities Aid Foundation's website. You can also make donations directly by contacting local organisations that might want them—for instance, if you're based in London there are currently several freecycle communities operating across the city that accept donations of furniture and equipment suitable for reuse by others who need them. And if those options don't appeal then you can always visit your local recycling centre too!
It is possible to repair equipment before replacing it entirely. If you need to replace an item in your office, consider repairing the existing one first. It's cheaper, more environmentally friendly and can be a good way to learn new skills.
If the damage is too great or if it cannot be repaired then you may have no option but to buy a new machine. However, not all companies have access to workshops for engineers who can fix their broken machines; therefore some equipment will have to be replaced eventually anyway!
Using real glasses and crockery is better for your health, but it's also better for the environment. Plastic cups and plates are not eco-friendly—they take a long time to break down and can't be recycled. Instead, use glass or porcelain dishes that can be reused over and over again. You can buy eco-friendly versions of glass and crockery from most retailers. And even if you don't have a dishwasher in your office kitchen, this kind of tableware will last longer than disposable cups, so you'll still save money by using it!
The distance food travels from field to plate is referred to as its “food miles”. It's a good idea to reduce these as much as possible because the transportation process uses up a lot of energy and causes pollution.
Instead of importing produce from abroad, you can source it locally. This not only saves money but also benefits the environment and local economy:
We're not talking about doing away with the heating altogether; it is important to have a comfortable workplace. But in the winter, you don't need your office to be at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). The EPA recommends keeping your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 Celsius) when no one is in the building, which gives you plenty of wiggle room for when everyone's there.
Asking staff members to dress more warmly will help keep the temperature down around them, and can make all the difference in how much money gets spent on heating bills. Plus, it's better for everyone's comfort levels—and who doesn't want that?
There's no reason why your business can't be eco-friendly as well as efficient! There are a number of ways that offices can make their practices more eco-friendly, and these can result in both environmental benefits, financial benefits and the creation of a better work environment for everyone involved. One method that you can use is to reduce waste by using reusable items such as cutlery or mugs instead of disposable ones. You could also encourage employees to bring their own lunch rather than ordering in food, which would reduce waste on all levels – packaging included! However you decide to implement it, making changes to your company's practices will help ensure that it continues operating sustainably into the future.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the ways that your office can go green. If you have any questions about any of the points we've covered, please leave them in the comments below!