Can we be more environmentally friendly in the work place?
"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make." - Jane Goodall
We've all seen and read the news regarding our environmental crisis and whilst it's easy to say we want to make a difference it's not always as easy to make those changes. We know work is crazy busy and focusing on that work life balance seems impossible at times without throwing in an additional curve ball. Sooo, we have put together a few ideas on how we can all be a little more environmentally friendly in the work place - we're nice like that!
There are the no-brainer ideas which we can all do in any environment, and because they are so obvious and simple, we should all take action today (if you haven't already!)
Have two bins in your office / work space, one for general waste, one for recycling - if you do not have room, ensure everyone has access to a communal recycling bin.
Walk, cycle, use public transport or lift share to work where possible (think of your extra step count if you walked!)
It's easy to press that print button at work, but only print out what you absolutely need, double think the print - go paperless.
Invest in a thermal cup, we all love a take out coffee in our lunch break, but save on the paper cup!
Bring in a plant to your work space if possible, helping to create cleaner air around you.
Ensure your office / work place is only being cleaned with Eco friendly cleaning products.
Switch off the lights and unplug your electronics before you go home.
Only fill the kettle for the amount of tea / coffee you are making, a full kettle uses more power.
Start a sustainability team
Be the leader! If your work place does not have a sustainability team, propose to start one. Get everyone on board and see how many ways your work place can help. Don't forget to share with us your amazing ideas! Employees engaging with each other face to face is far more productive than an email from the big boss telling everyone to switch off the lights and only print what they need. Start a monthly competition - go plastic free for a month and reward the people who manage it.
Get on the cloud
Storing your work on a cloud is not only a great way to never loose your work but it also helps the environment. No need for endless paper trails and lost meeting notes, have everything in one place with access to it anywhere. We've been there, thinking what's saving one piece of paper going to do, I'll just print this out - but if everyone stopped and saved that one piece of paper we may well save a forest!
Go Green, go paperless! Meeting notes & agendas can be emailed to staff, presentations shown on a lap top or projector. There are even devices now where you can write notes and those notes go straight to a cloud to be stored, eradicating the need for note books and pens!
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Does your work place recycle everything they can? Now a days so many things are recycle-able, ink cartridges, milk tops, paper (the obvious one). Everything and anything that can be recycled in your work place should be. For the items that can not be recycled such as elastic bands which got straight to land fill, we should try to use them less, if at all and ask your sustainability team for ideas on alternative methods.
What else is out there?
We can really think outside the box these days with lots of business's promoting environmentally friendly products. Until we started to research these companies on the internet we had no idea how many environmentally friendly options were out there, here are a few:-
Plastic free scours & sponges
Eco friendly ball point pens
Milk man delivered milk (glass bottles, doing away with plastic ones)
Note books from recycled materials
Energy efficient appliances, LED light bulbs, energy saving lap tops..
Staple-less stapler - google it, they really exist!
Bamboo wireless mouse
Recycled lever arch files
Recycled hole punch
Bio degradable packaging & tape
The list really is endless!
Is there a work from home option?
This is a topical point of conversation at the moment for a number of reasons. More flexibly for working families being one but have we considered the environmental benefit to this too? With technology expanding by the day such as video conferencing, abilities to log onto a work system / emails from home etc, can we save lengthy commute times helping our carbon footprint? Whilst it is impossible for everyone to work from home there are many jobs out there which could adapt to this idea and in turn contribute to the environments well being. Definitely something for an employer to consider!
"The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for." - Ernest Hemingway
Have you successfully set up or are part of a sustainability group within your work place? Has your work place gone green? If so, we would love to hear your ideas and any tips in the comments.