How To Make Your Office More Sustainable: 20 Easy Ideas & Tips
Making an office or facility sustainable doesn’t mean breaking the bank to put solar panels on the roof or refit lighting. These 20 tricks are low-cost if not free for your office adapt.
How To Make Your Office Lounge/Reception Area More Sustainable
The office lounge is a place where decoration is key. It might seem like an unlikely place to become eco-friendly, but the choices you make here can certainly make an impact on your office’s success in going green.
1. Decorate With Plants
Plants are wonderful decorations! They bring in nature from outside, bring more oxygen into the space, and have a positive psychological impact.
Tip: Try using flower-like succulents, such as Echeveria, which has a lotus-like appearance and needs little watering. Herbs like mint and basil will add a natural, pleasant aroma to the space. Plus, when the plant thrives, staff members can take home the fresh leaves to use in their own kitchens.
2. Use Repurposed or Recycled Furniture
Lounges need to have ample sitting space for guests and team collaboration. A little antique or repurposed shopping will not only save trees being made for frames and legs, but it will also cut on the CO2 emissions from factories making new furniture or burning old ones.
The best part: When you use repurposed or recycled furniture, you make a space that is unique and far more inviting than traditional office lounge.
3. Limit Reading Material To Quality Not Quantity
Skip the magazines. If people want to read about the latest drama with the royals or what the newest eyeliner is they can Google it on their smartphones. Instead, have a book of photography or world records on the table. Guests will be entertained and with less magazine subscriptions, there will be less paper use and waste
How To Make Your Office Breakroom More Sustainable
The breakroom is undoubtedly where the most waste will be produced in the office. Set up a system wisely and waste can, not only be cut back, but put to good use.
4. Recycle EVERYTHING Possible
Have designated bins for recycling in your breakroom to encourage recycling. The less recyclable goods that go in the trash, the better the environment will be for it.
Tip: On the wall or refrigerator of your breakroom, post a chart designating what can and cannot be recycled. This way, there can be no confusion as to what goes in which bin.
5. Use A Water Filtration System
Employees should have water throughout the day to maintain their health and stay hydrated. A water filtration system in the breakroom will lessen the amount of plastic being used from bottled water, while providing an ample supply of water.
Tip: Give employees branded promo reusable water bottles or to-go cups to refill their water with as another way to reduce waste.
6. Skip The Plastic & Paper Plates: Use Reusable Dishware
If your office is small, skip the plastic and paper dishware. Instead, choose low-cost reusable supplies that are easily washed. This will limit the amount of plastic cutlery getting into the environment, reduce the trees cut down to make plates and cups, as well as give employees a more “homey” feel in the office.
7. Bring Lunch From Home
When a person brings lunch from home, the plastic waste is much more controlled. Take away food often comes in plastic bags and with plastic utensils. Packed lunches give employees the ability to eat healthy and eat eco-friendly.
8. Separate Organic Waste & Start A Compost System
Sometimes staff members don’t finish their lunch or snacks. Have a separate bin only for organic waste. Organic waste makes excellent fertilizer for soil, so instead of shipping it off to the dump, have a local garden community repurpose it as compost to grow their plants and crops at the end of each week.
Tip: Garbage bins with lids will keep out most if not all smells, as well as flies and pests, so there is no need to worry about unwanted irritants.
How To Make Your Office Supplies Use More Sustainable
With much of working being done digitally now, the second point that causes waste in the office is the supplies used by employees on a daily basis.
9. Procure Eco-Friendly or Recycled Products
When it’s time to procure new supplies, ask your vendor if there are eco-friendly alternatives to the materials normally purchased. Prices usually vary only by a dollar. Make sure that all paper goods like copy paper, notebooks, and file folders are made from items that have been recycled. Even plastic and metal items can be found that have been recycled or repurposed.
10. Print On Both Sides Of The Paper
This one is a no brainer and it is as simple as pushing a button in the settings section of a printer to ensure that paper is continuously being printed sustainably.
11. Scrap Paper Box
Something didn’t print right or has just a small mark on it? Create a scrap paper box for paper that can be reused to print or to be taken by employees to use to jot down notes or brainstorm.
12. Recycle Electronics & Batteries PROPERLY
Have a small, separate bin for electronic accessories, such as broken wires and dead batteries. These must be recycled and disposed of properly or else harmful chemicals contained within can easily get into the ground water supply if sent to the dump with other trash. Your local recycling center should have the capabilities to take of this waste or be the middleman to send it to a proper technology recycling facility.
13. Give Employees Ergonomic Chairs & Furniture
Ergonomic furniture will give employees the support they need to conduct work efficiently and boost productivity. This is because their bodies are being better taken care of by preventing dangerous musculoskeletal injuries when they use such items. Whether we remember it or not, people are part of nature, we should be taking care of ourselves as well.
14. Purchase Office Products From A Local Vendor
Obtaining items from a local office supply vendor saves time, money, and delivery CO2 emissions. Many local companies like Mills are utilizing green vehicles for their deliveries, to bring the best service to partners and the environment.
How To Make Your Overall Office & Employees Green With Sustainable Practices
There are many tricks that employees and staff members in an office can practice on a daily basis to make their office and their own lifestyle eco-friendly.
15. Plant A Tree or Small Garden Outside The Office
If your office has some land, no matter how small, ask the landlord or company owner to if planting a tree or a small garden would be allowed. This will beautify the building, help the environment, and get employees outside once in a while.
Tip: Instead of “walking meetings,” teams can have “garden meetings” where they discuss their plans of action in the fresh air and give the plant(s) a drink of water before they return to their desk. They will have pride both in their work and their accomplishment.
16. Encourage Sustainable Commuting
Encourage employees who live near each other to carpool to work. If your office is located in a city that offers public transportation with a stop near the building, give your staff a nudge to take advantage of it. If your office is in a small town, talk up the benefits of walking to work. With less people driving cars to get to work, the fumes choking our atmosphere (and us) will also be reduced.
17. Program Computers To Save Energy
Macs and PCs alike have the capability to easily be programmed to go into “standby” mode when they are not in use. Doing this will save energy in the office as well as keep your computer’s charge up throughout the day.
See the quick step by step here.
18. Get Employees & Office Staff Involved In The Local Community
Have your employees get involved in the community by hosting a food drive, clothes drive, a fundraiser, or even donate a percentage of purchased proceeds to a philanthropy of the company’s choosing. This puts eyes on your business and does a good deed in the process.
19. Have Office Philanthropic Challenges
You can take your philanthropic challenges to another level by adding in the spirit of competition. Have each department/team compete against one another to raise the most funds, bring in the most food, or make the best time in a local 5k.
20. Turn Off The Lights!
Leaving the room? Turn off the lights. No one in the room? Turn off the lights. Have a large window with natural light? Turn. Off. The. Lights.
Tip: Many people prefer to work in rooms where natural light is the only light. Fluorescents can be harsh on the eyes day in and day out. So work naturally and work better.