We are always hearing of different ways to improve our green credentials in the work place, but how many of those ideas actually apply to you and what can you, as an individual, do to help in your office?
There are many ways that you can reduce your environmental impact by making small changes in your day-to-day work routine. Here are a few tips you can start today to make your office a greener space to work.
1. Ionize your office space with greenery
Houseplants filter the air naturally, absorb odours and improve the look of the office. Peace lilies and spider plants also help to create negative ions to counteract the positive ionization given off by electrical equipment in a small space. If possible, try and place house plants in and around your work space in order to make a clean working space that will enhance your psychological well-being and increase productivity.
2. Bring your own lunch and fling the cling
Take a packed lunch to work in a reusable container instead of cling film. A plastic container is useful but metal is a better choice in terms of reducing toxins. You not only save money bringing your own lunch, but reduce your waste load a great deal.
3. Send an Email
Send emails as much as you can instead of relying on the postal service, particularly when you are writing to people in other countries where planes are being used to transport the post, thereby hiking up the environmental cost. You’ll be surprised how much is saved on stamp costs too!
4. Snooze time
While computers are not being used, set them to the ‘sleep’ mode rather than employ an active desktop or screensaver. The sleep function can reduce energy wastage by almost 65%. If your computer has a brightness control, turning it down can also effectively reduce the energy usage.
6. Signpost to success
Make a sign for your office door that says ‘Last one out, turn off the lights’. Often office lights are left on all through the night. This will also remind cleaners who work in the evening to turn off lights too.
7. Switch your Stapler
According to Friends Of The Earth, if every UK office worker used just one less staple per year, it would save 120 tons of steel. Ditching your stapler all together and not connecting pages together at all is the most environmentally-friendly solution. However if you must attach pages to each other, opt for a staple-less stapler using a punch folding mechanism or paperclips.
8. Be a Mug
Instead of relying on disposable polystyrene or plastic cups at work, take in your own ceramic or china mug. Your brew will taste better and you won’t be throwing any cups out, meaning you can sip your brew with a free conscience!
9. Video conference
If you find you are always on the go, meeting with colleagues and clients, ask your boss to consider video conferencing instead. It will save a mountain of time travelling to and from conference locations and less travel means less pollution and less congestion, as well as driving down costs.
10. Clean your computer
Extend the life of your computer or laptop by making sure the screen, fan and keyboard are always dust and grime-free.
11. Ask who wants a drink
If you’re about to make yourself a hot drink, be sure to ask any of your co-workers if they would like a cup too. It saves energy to boil several cups at a time rather than having people endlessly reboil their own.
12. Planes, trains and automobiles
If you have to organize travel for your work then try to use public transport rather than hiring a car. This not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it will also make your business trips more enjoyable to see all the places in between your departure point and your destination.
By making just a few simple changes of habit in your daily routine at work, you can help do your bit to make, not only your office, but this world a cleaner, greener place to live. So why not give these top 12 office green tips a try today.
This revised second edition highlights the opportunities for achieving cost savings and environmental improvements to enhance competitiveness in organizations of all sizes, with specific guidance for small businesses. The Green Office Manual: A Guide to Responsible Practice
Victoria Moore holds a first class honours in Geography and an M.Sc. in Environmental Governance from Manchester University. She has worked as a geography tutor and recently returned from a six month journey through Asia. Victoria is passionate about the environmental movement and aspires to have a positive impact on the planet through her work and play!