Part of the process of making your office a green workspace is sharing viewpoints. There are many great ideas on how sustainability practices can benefit office environments. The key is to find the ones office mates can work on together to have real impact. Team effort keeps interest up and motivates people to participate. Additionally, teams can evaluate their successes and determine how they will maintain these changes for years to come. Here are five green ideas for the office and some effective ways any office can be transformed into a more sustainable workplace:
1. Go Paperless
Technology has substantially decreased the need for paper in offices, yet paper waste is still an enormous problem. As many as 68 million trees are used to manufacture paper and other products in the U.S. each year, and this number continues to grow.
Assessing how much paper is still used for copies and reducing or eliminating paper printing is one of the best ways to green your office. Going paperless also greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A simple 10% reduction in paper use can limit emissions by many metric tons.
2. Make a Green Commute
How people get to the office has tremendous impact on environmental sustainability. In recent years, companies have started encouraging employees to carpool or use public transit to reduce emissions problems, especially in urban areas. Individuals are also taking steps to get healthy and make good environmental choices by walking, running and cycling to work.
More companies are embracing remote work as a way to reduce consumption issues presented by a traditional office setting. With recent COVID-19 restrictions, decreased use of fossil fuels curbed air pollution by a substantial amount in the U.S. This outcome may provide an additional incentive to continue remote work.
3. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Visible recycling bins are crucial to their use. It is also important to provide an ample amount of receptacles so there is little effort in sorting waste and recyclables for disposal. Companies should promote the use of reusable coffee cups and eco-friendly snack options that do not contribute to unnecessary waste.
Consumption habits are a large factor in office waste. By living according to the reduce, reuse and recycle motto, small changes lead to big sustainability payoffs.
4. Use Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly more popular in offices across the country. Where possible, companies can make the switch to wind and solar power.
This can be done through local utilities providing electricity via wind farms or through the use of rooftop solar panels. The options for green energy are becoming more accessible each year.
5. Lose the Plastic
Plastics remain one of the biggest problems in office waste. Many offices still provide plastic cups, plates, straws, utensils and water bottles that are not recyclable. Managers should promote reusable personal items that can be kept at a desk or workstation. Refillable water bottles are another smart sustainability decision for a greener office.
It’s easy to take a few steps to make your office a greener space. Sustainability practices require a thoughtful approach to specific problems and the desire to do better. Companies that embrace a green future will create positive change in their workplaces, communities and the environment.
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