You know what they say: “Go big or go home”. Wrong. It should be “Go Green or Go Home”. Being eco-friendly is getting more and more popular each year. And this is happening for a reason. Caring about the environment isn’t just another trend that will die out in a year or two. It should be part of our daily lives.
We all know how polluted our planet is, and yet, most of us are doing nothing to prevent it. The least you can do is redesign your living and workspace in a more eco-friendly manner. Even small steps towards the change in your office can make a great impact on the environment. In addition to that, you can, for example, walk or cycle to work, instead of driving around in your car. Be the part of a change and design your office in an eco-friendly way. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Turning off electronics
In simple words, the more power your workplace uses, the more resources it will consume, and the more carbon-dioxide will be realized into the air. Even though most of our work is done on the computers, turning them off when you’re not using them is common sense. The most effective way to get this done without much thinking is through automatization. That means that your computer will automatically switch off every time you leave it unattended for, for example, 30 minutes. The other way is manually turning it off the moment you’ve finished with your work. The ideal way is the combination of these two.
Other electronics, such as printers, fans, and lights, shouldn’t be disregarded either. It’s certain that you don’t need three printers active at the same time. To be fair, you probably don’t use one more than 5 times a day. Consider keeping them turned off at all times. Switch them on only if you need to print or copy something. If your office is naturally well lit, why are you using so much artificial light? Consider turning off the lights during the day. Let the sunshine in, you’ll feel happier.
But turning your electronics and gadgets isn’t enough. Every time you leave the office, make sure that they are unplugged. Your devices are still consuming power when they are plugged in, which causes unnecessary expense to your company.
Even though this sounds like a cliché, recycling is very important. This is one of the easiest steps your workplace can do towards a greener environment. What you maybe didn’t know is that most of the material used in your firm can go into the recycling bins. So, of course, the first step is putting up recycling bins for those materials, such as paper, glass, plastic bottles, tins, and cans.
You can, for example, start by recycling paper. Unless it’s a confidential document that needs to be shredded or disposed of in another way, put it in a recycle bin. Recycling shouldn’t end here. Electronics that are no longer in use can get recycled as well.
There is also one way of recycling that often gets overlooked- composting. Throwing away food leftovers is an unnecessary waste, so why don’t you teach your colleagues how to make compost. Compost is also known as “black gold” and is used for enriching and feeding your plants.
3.Green office supplies
Every office has supplies they need to use, but along the way, they completely forget about being eco-friendly. Tons of papers are being used each day, staples, pens, and rubber bands are thrown away without thinking whether we can use them again or recycle them.
The best you can do is find products that are “greener”. For example, instead of buying any pen, opt for the refillable one. Purchase supplies that are made from recycled material and post-consumer content. Those supplies are new but are made from previously used products. Don’t forget to recycle your supplies whenever that’s possible, and encourage your colleagues to stop using non-recyclable, non-green products.
4. Going paperless
This seems quite unimportant given the fact that we live in a digital age. But what may surprise you is offices all around the world use huge amounts of paper every day. That means more trees are cut and more energy is consumed for making paper.
In order to change that, consider switching to “Paperless methods” such as digital statements and e-mail. By doing so, you’re less likely to lose the important mail or document, and you’re being eco-friendly. On top of that, nowadays there are various methods for storing documents online, such as drive and cloud-based services, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. This also reduces the number of documents you print every day.
In addition to that, implement an e-signature policy. As the digital signature tools are available on most systems, consider switching to them. They are easy to use and save both resources and space.
5. Create green space
Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to exclude the style. Consider decorating your office with indoor plants. Not only will it look chicer, but the quality of the air will drastically improve. We spend most of our time in the office, and by improving the quality of the air inside, we improve our health. Poor air quality could have serious consequences for our health. For example, it can trigger asthma attacks and make us prone to illness, such as common flu.
Some indoor plants like English Ivies and Chinese Evergreens are household plants that are not only easy to maintain, but they filter the air inside the room. By absorbing Carbon Monoxide, Benzine, and such, they produce clean oxygen. Planting them and keeping them can be a great team-building activity! On top of that, you can use the “black gold” you’ve made for their maintenance. Don’t forget to water them regularly.
6. Washroom and kitchen
Every workplace surely has a washroom and a kitchen included. And most of them waste a lot of resources, usually water. Even though it feels like you can’t do much regarding this issue, you’re wrong.
The first thing you can do is get the leaking taps fixed and replaced with motion sensor faucets. Consider investing in low-flush toilets to make your bathroom more functional and eco-friendly. That’s how you’ll prevent wasting water. Furtherly, instead of using paper towels, switch to cloth towels. By doing that, you’re reducing the amount of waste your office produces. In addition to that, make sure you’re using eco-friendly cleaning products. Considering that most of them are quite expensive, you can try making your own sustainable cleaning products.
Many companies use disposable paper or plastic cups and plates. This creates a huge amount of waste every day. Consider investing in regular plates, cups, and glasses. Even though you’ll have to spend an extra 5 minutes on work washing the dishes, you’ll be contributing to a better environment.
7. Adjust the light
Every firm has at least one light in each room, but most of them are using regular light bulbs that last shorter and consume more energy than the eco-friendly ones. In addition to that, most people leave the light on in the office for the whole day. This creates a large expense for the company and is bad for the environment. To deal with this issue, consider installing motion sensor lights in each room and start using natural light as much as possible.
Sometimes we also need to make our office or conference room darker, for example, while giving the presentation when switching the lights off isn’t enough. Instead of getting plastic shutters, consider investing in high quality ecowood shutters. Not only they look good with both, modern and rustic styles, but they are also recyclable, easy to clean, and easy to repair.
8. Reuse old furniture
If you’re moving into a new office, don’t waste money buying new furniture when you already have everything you need. Find some ideas on how to give your furniture a new look. Update it and give it a new purpose; not only will you cut your expenses, but you will reduce your carbon footprint. Think outside of the box, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money.
For example, old photo frames can be used for decoration. Paint them in any colour you like, and hang them on the wall, make a pattern. This is a simple, yet pretty way, to decorate your workspace.
As you can see, there are a lot of small steps you can take towards the eco-friendlier environment you work in. Small things like these often get overlooked by many people, but every change counts. Encourage your colleagues to follow your steps to creating a better and healthier environment for all. Not only will it make you feel good, but it will increase your company’s reputation, as ecology is praised nowadays. Being eco-friendly is a small step for man, but large for mankind. Remember, there is no planet B!