Offices can be notoriously wasteful. Printing out 500-page reports and then dumping them in the trash after a meeting add up quickly. Here are some simple techniques that you can implement into your daily office routine that can make your office more efficient and green.
1. Save energy
Use energy saving settings on electronics like your work computer. For things you can’t control, buy a smart power strip that limits the amount of energy appliances can draw from when they’ve sat idle for an hour or more. Use a programmable thermostat to set office temperatures for evening and weekend hours. Use timers to control when overhead lights are on.
Instead of printing out reports, use Google documents, text messages or email. Not everything needs a hard copy. Create an office policy about what kinds of documents can be shared online and what documents need to be printed.
If possible create an office carpool. Pool resources for gas money – that way everybody saves and it creates a system of eco-responsibility. Give incentives to workers who ride their bikes. Look for ways to reward employees who do their best to limit their footprint.
4. Buy used work attire
It might not be a fashionable new suit, but does it do the job? Save money and the environment by wearing previously owned clothing. There’s nothing wrong with shopping at St. Vincent de Paul’s for a suit or dress. If you don’t like the fit you can always have it altered, investing in your local craftsmen and recycling perfectly good materials.
5. Work from home
When possible, save the environment by working from home. If all you need is your computer then by all means, use modern technology. If you can limit the number of trips from your home per week, you can effectively reduce your carbon footprint.
6. Use soy-based inks and recycled paper
It’s been said again and again, reduce, reuse and recycle, but so many offices still buy paper that is only 30% recycled. Start looking for paper that is 100% recycled. Use old reports and take notes on one side. Limit the amount of note pads your company buys in a year. Buy less office supplies.
7. Use fair-trade organic coffee
Every office has coffee, so why not offer your employees not only the best tasting cup o’ joe, but also one that pays employees well and treats the earth with respect.
8. Use reusable plates, cups and utensils
If you can cut down the amount of lunchtime waste – from sandwich bags to plastic cups and paper plates – you can greatly reduce your office’s garbage service.
9. Recycle everything
Place recycling bins in the break room that are easily accessible and clearly labeled. Reminding employees what they can recycle will help them to sort their own trash. Make sure there is a place for pop cans, as these can be donated to charitable organizations.
10. Use compact fluorescent bulbs.
Sure, it’s been said again and again fluorescent lightbulbs use less energy, but it’s true. Early adapters complained of the harsh lighting, but today you don’t need to worry about that. Lightbulb manufacturers have made fluorescent and LED lights that have a more natural hue that isn’t overpowering. Make a plan to slowly incorporate them into your office.