Easy Ways to Make Your Office Eco-Friendly
Others | Wednesday, 02 Aug 2017
Working in an eco-friendly office space certainly has its perks – not only does it contribute less to climate change, it creates a healthier, happier and more productive environment. Whether you're an employer or employee, there are many steps you can take to make your office space more eco-friendly without having to make huge, disruptive changes. Read more for easy, practical ways to reduce your office space's ecological footprint that will make a significant difference in the long run.
1. Power and Lighting
One of the easiest ways to cut down on energy consumption is to simply turn off the lights. Fret not, we're not asking you to work in the dark, but rather to use natural light whenever possible. Pulling down the blinds to allow daylight in not only reduces the need for artificial lighting, it could also improve workers' productivity and quality of life.
In addition, make sure computers are set to go into standby mode after a short period of inactivity. However, did you know that many devices still draw energy when they are in standby, or even when they are shut down? To avoid unnecessary energy use, switch off electrical devices at their plug points at the end of the day. Using a power strip can help avoid the hassle of having to switch off devices individually.
2. Go Paperless
Choosing to go paperless can drastically cut down the amount of waste your office produces. Luckily, in this digital age, there are many ways you can cut down on paper usage. You could keep documents in digital folders instead of physical ones, send co-workers emails instead of printing out physical copies, show documents onscreen rather than in print, and so on. The added benefits of digitizing your documents are plenty – they're likely to be easier to find, contribute less clutter to the office and are easier to migrate or backup.
If printing is necessary, you could maximise paper and ink by printing on both sides of the paper, printing in draft mode to save ink, or reducing margins to fit more text on a single page.
3. Use Green Materials
Another way to reduce office waste is to use more environmentally friendly supplies. Use refillable pens and markers instead of disposable ones, or use stationery that are made of recycled materials. Opt for recycled paper and envelopes. Use remanufactured ink cartridges – they are cheaper and have a lighter ecological footprint compared to buying new ones.
Other green materials you could include in the office are biodegradable soaps and cloth towels in the pantry and washroom and biodegradable cleaners for janitorial staff.
Many office supplies can be recycled. If there aren't any recycle bins in your office, you can set them up. Having them in multiple locations and within short walking distance could encourage co-workers to actually use them, rather than throwing waste in the nearest rubbish bin. Examples of office supplies that can be recycled include paper, plastic or cardboard containers, plastic bags, ink cartridges, plastic bottles and unused or broken electric equipment.
5. Commuting & Telecommuting
An easy way to substantially cut down on your carbon emissions is to carpool with a co-worker. Not only will you be doing your part for the environment, you would also save money on petrol and toll charges, and perhaps make a new friend in the office.
Better yet, cut out commuting entirely and work from home. Employees can be just as productive (or even more so) when telecommuting, while keeping fewer cars on the roads.
6. Lunch Time
Bringing your lunch to work in reusable containers is both sustainable for the environment and your wallet (and your waist!). By avoiding takeout, you're cutting down on packaging waste and more likely making healthier eating choices. However, if you do go for takeout, consider bringing your reusable containers and utensils. You could also cut down carbon emissions and get a bit of exercise by walking instead of driving out to lunch.
7. Go Green (Literally)
Our final tip for making your office space greener is to spruce up with a potted plant or two. Besides making workers happier and more productive, having houseplants in the office could lead to better indoor air quality as they eliminate toxic agents in the air.
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