The quest to achieve and maintain a more sustainable workplace is no longer reserved for those businesses on the progressive fringe, as companies of all kinds all across the globe are actively working to reduce their carbon footprints. These efforts are already fostering happier environments with prouder employees, pleased to know and promote that their company is dedicated to a more sustainable future.
SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING (IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY)?
We’re not talking about converting your office into a treehouse or filling the building with succulents, live grass and butterflies. No, we’re talking about ways you can promote being a little greener, a little less wasteful, and a whole lot more awesome.
There are so many things we as businesses CAN do, but often time and resources are limited. And then there’s the question of adoption, and creating policies and measures that people will feel good about integrating into their normal work lives. Maybe you’ve already made the move to include recycling bins in every office or to park a separate recycling dumpster outside. That’s a great first step! But there are plenty of other out-of-box ways an office can become immediately more green.
Here are six easy simple ways to follow suit without breaking the bank:
- Invest in Houseplants
Houseplants add a splash of greenness to the office – Literally. But, these colorful charmers aren’t just for looks. While research suggests plants may not do much to cleanse or purify the air, they do improve mood and set a greener tone. So, for improved psychological health and to enhance the aesthetics of your workplace, consider the impact of going green. Don’t know where to start? No problem! Check out these 12 Best Plants for the Office on the Good Housekeeping website.
- Buy Vintage Furniture
Looking to replace worn-out office furniture? Consider investing in second-hand stuff, rather than contributing to the culture of disposable goods by buying brand new. Reusing furniture that has already been produced demands less from the planet and saves money.
Before you revamp the office with cool vintage finds, don’t forget to recycle unwanted furniture. Many organizations offer free pick-up, so it’s a win-win!
- Cancel Paper Subscriptions
Piles upon piles of ‘junk’ mail are printed, delivered, and… tossed. Every. Single. Day. We’re all guilty of it. And much of that we have no say whether it shows up in our box or not. But, not all. Rethinking and canceling unnecessary subscriptions can save space in the recycling bin and cut back on office waste. (Many brands offer digital subscriptions as an alternative, too!)
- Add a Scrap Bin by the Printer
The average office worker uses thousands of copy paper per year. So, it comes to no surprise that roughly 70% of office waste is paper.
Don’t throw away those failed print jobs: Just put a scrap bin next to the printer to reduce paper waste. Beyond that, consider a no-print or limited-print policy that discourages employees from printing anything unless absolutely needed. And if nothing else, encouraging less printing in general is a great way to get everyone on the same page.
- Use Reusable Products
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard that eliminating single-use products, such as plastic cups, plates, and cutlery, drastically mitigates your company’s environmental impact. Passing out reusable water bottles or encouraging people to bring their own reusable tableware can set the stage for an easy transition away from dreadful disposables.
Leading by example is also key. When bringing in food from outside, have office managers seek sustainability-minded QSR providers, and request environmentally-friendly packaging to generate less waste.
- Create a Composting System
Leftover food in landfills creates an ozone-destroying methane monster. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimated that between 6%-8% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stopped wasting food. Composting is an easy fix. Got leftover scraps from an office lunch? Just toss it in a designated covered container and wait for your soft soil to develop.
Consider donating it to a local farm, garden, or setting-up a communal office garden.
Now, we know what you’re thinking…anyone can talk the talk, but can they actually walk it? We are constantly making shifts in our office practices (and our mindsets) to do our part and promote an overall earth-friendlier workplace.
If you’d like to talk sustainability, drop us a line!