Sustainability has been a hot topic for some time now, but its realization is often elusive. When considering what makes an office sustainable, we encourage everyone to keep it simple: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. With the three core practices of sustainability in mind, your company’s office environment can be optimized for a sustainable future. Check out our 3 easy ways that you can create a more sustainable, eco-friendly office environment.
Waste often becomes forgotten about once it leaves your sight, so one way to increase mindfulness is to centralize your trash receptacles - not allowing trash cans at the desks of employees and not allowing food/eating at desks keeps employees keenly aware of where trash belongs and what trash is recyclable. We’ve done this at Guy Brown and it really works! Employees are much more aware of how much individual waste they are producing when they must move from their desks to dispose of each item individually. Since recycling options are available at all centralized trash receptacles, employees make a decision about recycling each time they dispose of trash, which promotes personal responsibility.
Your company breakroom is another great place to adopt sustainable practices and reduce waste. Having clearly marked receptacles to designate what type of waste goes to landfills, recycling, or compost reduces waste. This also demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable practices in a very practical way.
Electronics are large consumers of energy and with a few habit changes, you can reduce your company’s energy bill and consumption. Encourage employees to unplug small appliances when not in use, power off their computer if they will be gone for more than 30 minutes, as well as at the end of the day, and turn lights off whenever possible. Simple things every employee can do to positively impact your organization and the environment.
Reusing materials whenever possible as well as purchasing reusable/recyclable products is a great combination for a greener office. In your breakroom, encouraging employees to bring reusable utensils, plates, and bottles can drastically cut down on the amount of landfill waste produced in your office.
Breakrooms and cafeterias can be a large source of waste for companies and a hinderance to office sustainability. Non-recyclable paper plates and plastic cutlery negatively impacts your carbon footprint. In order to create less waste, it is important to be mindful about the products we use and when possible, preferring the purchase of products that are either reusable or recyclable. Purchase items for your office that can be reused, like paper clips, instead of staples. Choose eco-friendly plastics for breakroom supplies. If your office environment is conducive, and you want to truly reuse your waste, you could even start a composting process on your office campus and use that to help feed plants around the office. Now that’s dedication!
Even in today’s digital offices, the printing environment still holds some of the greatest opportunity for improvement in sustainability and eco-friendly practices and even cost reduction too. A few easily implementable changes include recycling your toner cartridges or purchasing re-engineered toner or re-manufactured ink and toner cartridges. Simple things like changing your printer settings to only print double-sided and having clearly designated areas for recycling also promotes sustainability and cost reduction.
There are printer monitoring software programs that you can install as well. The software manages your print volume, supply consumption, and can help govern your company’s printing habits and costs. Print governance software (aka DCA – Data Collection Agent) can be beneficial because you are prompted to enter a personal code at the printer to release your job, thus fostering more mindful printing practices and eliminating print jobs that never get picked up. Installing such software is not difficult and it’s an excellent first step on the path to becoming a paperless office.
These tips cover a few easy changes your office can make to create a more sustainable, eco-friendly office environment that can help the planet for future generations. Remember, in order to make eco-friendly sustainable habits last, gain employee support and promote personal responsibility for environmentally thoughtful behavior. Realizing a sustainable office comes down to lots of people making many small environmentally friendly decisions each day.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Keep it simple and you’ll be on the pathway to a more sustainable office in no time at all. It’s simple enough that you could even begin implementing these in your organization today? What are some creative ways that your office practices sustainability? Share your thoughts, we’d be glad to hear your ideas or help you start your program today. Drop us a line any time.