Going green in the office may appear to simply be the latest trend for many businesses but it can actually provide many benefits and rewards for those who implement them. Potentially the most appealing of these benefits being reduced costs.
Going green also improves the office environment as well as gaining a positive public response. But by far the biggest value of going green is sustainability. Implementing even few initiatives can help preserve natural resources.
There are many simple tips and tricks to help reduce waste and cut costs in the workplace.
Here are just a few.
1. Encourage employees to bike or walk to work: This can be made more appealing by the installation of facilities such as bike racks, showers and changing rooms.
2. Create a car pool scheme: Help those employees willing to car pool to connect, enabling them to find colleagues who live nearby.
3. Videoconference: Regularly travelling to meetings can be costly as well as damage the environment, try to organise videoconferences to avoid this.
4. Offer telecommuting: If work may be done at home, give employees the option to telecommute.
Paper and Printing
1. Recycle paper: Aim to purchase a high content of recycled paper and encourage employees to use scrap paper wherever possible.
2. Avoid colour printing where possible: Colour printing uses much more ink, stick to black and white where possible.
3. Buy recycled ink: Cartridges contribute to landfills; buying refilled cartridges can alleviate this problem.
4. Consider an alternative: There are now many alternative types of paper, why not try hemp or organic cotton?
5. Reduce margins: Reducing margin settings reduces the amount of paper used when printing.
6. Store manuals and other documents online: Providing online copies for employees can significantly reduce paper usage.
7. Distribute memos via email
1. Buy from a green energy company: Many utility companies now produce energy using wind or other alternative sources, consider using one of these.
2. Turn off lights when not in use: Ask employees to switch off lights when they leave rooms and invest in automatic lights for those rooms less regularly used.
3. Switch to energy saving light bulbs: Such light bulbs consume much less energy and are therefore more efficient.
4. Unplug computers when not in use: Encourage employees to shut down and unplug computers when they leave for the day as this will save energy.
5. Banish screen savers: Screen savers actually use energy, rather than save it. Encourage employees to set screen savers to blank.
1. Switch cleaning products: Commercial products often contain harmful chemicals, speak to the cleaning company and if necessary provide them with green alternatives.
2. Buy fair-trade, local or organic tea and coffee: This ensures a reduction in environmental impact.
3. Provide real cups and plates rather than disposable ones: Asking employees to use real plates and cups drastically reduces waste.
Megan Smith is a third year student studying Ecology and Wildlife Conservation in Bournemouth. She has completed work placements with the Research Institute for Nature and Forestry and the UmPhafa Reserve in South Africa, owned by Colchester Zoo. She plans to go on to do a masters degree once she graduates.