Going Green At Work

Going Green At WorkPhoto credit: Herman Miller

 

Companies around the world — be it a small Silicon Valley startup or a Fortune 500 giant — are committing to reducing their impact on the environment. From LEED-certified buildings to buying carbon credits to offset their footprint, everybody is making the move to green. WeWork, a shared workplace company, even went as far as announcing they would no longer be serving nor expensing meat products at company functions. While these grand gestures have helped spark a global movement toward sustainability, simple switches to your regular routine at the office can also make a big difference.

 

Go Paperless 

Your office, like many others, is probably moving toward a paperless work environment naturally already. With the use of emails, the cloud, shared drives and servers, paper documents are becoming less and less common. There’s no reason that inter-office communications can’t be done electronically. This won’t only save resources, but also money spent on office stationery. When you do need to print though, be mindful. Opt to print double-sided or in ‘draft’ quality (less ink) if you can.

 

Find a Carpool Buddy

Find out if you have any colleagues who live in your neighborhood and see if they’d like to carpool with you to save on gas. Use carpooling as an opportunity to get to know your co-workers and their morning commute Spotify playlist better. If you’re taking turns driving, you’ll also be able to get some days off from being behind the wheel during rush hour traffic.

 

Opt for Reusable Utensils

Say no to plastic dining utensils, plastic cups and paper plates. 6 million tonnes of single-use disposables get thrown out every year. Take a second to think about how often you bring food back to the office (we know all about that 7-Eleven run!), and all the single-use plastic you get along with it. Bringing your own containers, cups and cutlery will drastically reduce this amount, and will hopefully encourage another co-worker to join in on the movement too. 

 

Unplug Before You Leave

Your laptop may be off and the printer may not be used, but these items all slowly drain energy when they are plugged in. To ensure that you’re not wasting energy, make sure to stop the energy drain at the source: the outlet. Unplug your chargers and any wires every night before you leave to go home. 

 

Mindful Lighting and Air Conditioning

Bright sunny afternoon? Turn off the lights and open the shades instead if your office boasts expansive windows. And instead of bringing a blanket and extra layers to work, turn up the A/C to 25 degrees or higher to reduce energy consumption. 

 

Create a Dedicated Recycling Area

One of the biggest problems about recycling is that people don’t know where to throw away recyclable items. Most of the time, the office doesn’t have a designated trash can for recyclables to begin with. By setting up a dedicated recycling area with clear signage, you’ll help cultivate better habits in your co-workers as well.