25 Go Green Ideas For the Office That Every Company Should Use

go-green-tips-for-the-office

Every office is capable of implementing go green ideas that can help the environment and save money. 

The key is implementing changes that positively impact behavior without hindering productivity. 

Below are 25 go green ideas for the office that every company should use. 

Go Green Ideas - Green Tips for the Office

1. Eliminate Single Use Cups

Lots of offices have break rooms or cafeterias with water and coffee. While that is a positive perk for employees, it is harmful to the environment if they use plastic or Styrofoam cups.

Plastic and Styrofoam cups are not biodegradable can spend years in landfills or make their way into our oceans and rivers. 

Try carrying around a reusable bottle or thermos for your water or coffee. You are more likely to stay hydrated and will feel good knowing you are helping the environment! Some highly rated choices from Amazon are below.

If quitting single-use cups altogether is too jarring, then consider using environmentally friendly cups instead.

For example, you can use compostable plant-based cups that break down more quickly than regular plastic cups.

2. Use Recycled Printing Paper

Putting recycled paper in your printers is an easy go green idea. With today's technology, you and your colleagues won't even notice the difference!

For instance, the recycled printer paper below looks and feels like regular printer paper. However, it is made of recycled food and beverage containers!

PrintWorks Recycled Printer Paper - Any Company Can Implement These Go Green Ideas

Using eco-friendly printer paper is becoming more popular, so there are tons of choices to fit every need and budget. 

3. Print Double-sided

Make sure your computer and printer are automatically set to print double-sided. According to the EPA, printing double-sided can reduce your paper waste by 10 - 40%. 

Eco Friendly Printing - Picture of Person Printing

 Learn how to set up double-sided printing in less than 3 minutes here.

Green Tips for Office Supplies

4. Use Paperless Notebooks

Did you know that the average office worker generates about 2 pounds of paper waste every day?  

Use paperless notebooks to take notes and decrease paper waste. 

Notebooks are often discarded or have a lot of pages that go unused. Furthermore, it can be hard to sort through your notes and find what you need.

People have had success with the Rocketbook, which is a wired notebook that is erasable and reusable.

It looks and feels like a regular notebook but is an environmentally friendly alternative. 

Picture of the Rocketbook Paperless Notebook - Go Green Ideas for Office Supplies
Keep the Environment Clean with Green Office Supplies

It can even store your notes in Google Drive, One Note and Drop Box. 

Ready to try it for yourself?

Rocketbook is available on Amazon. There are a ton of success stories and it is one of our favorite products. 

5. Or at Least Use Eco Friendly Notebooks

If you can’t imagine using a paperless notebook, you can try using a notebook made from recycled paper to minimize your impact on the environment. 

Recycled Notebooks Are an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Traditional Notebooks

Enjoy traditional note-taking while saving the planet!

6. Try Recycled and Biodegradable pens

A good pen is essential for any office. However, throwing away plastic pens that aren't biodegradable isn't good for the environment. 

Biodegradable pens made from recycled materials are a better option that you can use to go green.

Green Tips for Power and Waste Savings

7. Decrease the Brightness on Your Computer Monitor

Go Green by Decreasing the Brightness on Your Computer Monitor - Picture of computer monitor with brightness symbol

According to a Harvard University professor, reducing your computer monitor’s brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% of the monitor's energy. 

Most people will not notice a huge change from making this adjustment, so it is a quick and easy go green idea. 

8. Turn Off Your Computer Monitor at Night

When you leave the office for the day, turn off your computer monitor to save energy. Hit the power button on your monitor or create a short cut as described here.

9. Implement Waste Walks

Decrease carbon emissions and reduce costs by implementing ​WASTE Walks. A WASTE Walk is when employees take a step back, walk the floor and identify wasteful activities.

It is a fun way to get everyone involved to create ideas to decrease your office’s impact on the environment.

Furthermore, WASTE Walks don’t require any additional funds, resources, or third parties. They take advantage of everyone’s brainpower to identify low hanging fruit and make improvements.

More importantly, employees are invested in the ideas and initiatives generated from WASTE Walks because they came up with them, so they are more likely to stick!

Learn how to implement WASTE Walks from this highly rated course!

Udemy - WASTE Walks Online Course to Create Go Green Ideas for the Office

10. Get Rid of Individual Trash Cans

Some offices have trash cans at every individual’s desk. Organizations such as Etsy saw an increase in recycling rates and reduced waste after removing individual trash cans and utilizing central trash cans instead.

Trash Can / Throwing Trash Away Symbol

At first, Etsy’s employees were annoyed that the company removed their trash cans. They felt it was an inconvenience to get up from their desk every time they wanted to throw something away.

However, after a while, they got used to it and noticed the benefits. Etsy’s recycling rate increased by 20%, and waste decreased by 18%.

Additionally, employees noticed an increase in spontaneous interactions as the central waste stations started to serve a similar social function to water coolers.

11. Offer this FREE Zero Waste Course

Zero Waste is all the rage right now. It has become a popular challenge for people to try and have a “zero waste lifestyle” where their impact on the environment is minimal.

Take this free online course and share it with your colleagues!

Udemy - Free Online Zero Waste Course

12. Encourage Eco Friendly Commuting Practices 

Millions of people commute to and from work each day. Thousands of cars on the road causes large amounts of pollution.

Commuting is a necessary part of life. However, there are some options that individuals can try that could decrease their environmental impact and help keep the environment clean.

Carpool

For instance, it might make sense to carpool with family, friends, or co-workers. That way, there is only one car on the road instead of three or four. A lot of couples or family members use this method if their jobs are relatively close together. Instead of taking two cars, they opt to take one car and drop the person off on their way to their job and pick them up at the end of the day. Many ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have carpool options as well.

Public Transportation

Another potential option is to use public transportation, which is easy for people that live in large cities with robust train systems. A lot of cities also have bus lines or light rails that aid in commuting in an environmentally friendly manner.

Some people have found success in biking or even skateboarding to work as they combine their commuting time with their exercise time.

The most important thing is for each employee to figure out what works best for them, their schedule and their family.

13. Buy Eco-friendly and Responsibly Sourced Coffee

Coffee is the world’s second most tradable commodity after oil. Coffee is now a multibillion-dollar global industry and growing. But the environmental impact of coffee is significant. 

Traditional coffee production can lead to deforestation, water pollution and erosion. 

What is a better and more sustainable alternative? Shade-grown coffee!

With shade grown-coffee, coffee plants are interspersed beneath local forest trees, mimicking how coffee grows naturally in these regions.

Eco-friendly and responsibly sourced coffee. Shade-grown coffee grows slower, requires less water, supports greater biodiversity, etc.

Source: Dean's Beans

Fortunately, you don't have to go far to find high-quality shade-grown coffee. Shade-grown coffee can be purchased by the bag online. For example, Volcanica coffee is one highly-rated choice. 

Volcanica Shade Grown Coffee

Volcanica is a family run business. Their coffee comes from a single origin in Costa Rica and is grown at a very high altitude. This commitment to quality makes for a sustainably sourced, smooth cup of coffee.

Most importantly, Volcanica's products carry the official seals shown below. 

Volcanica Certified Coffee Seals: Fair Trade, Organic and Shade Grown

Are you ready to help the planet and be a sustainable coffee drinker?

There are tons of fair-trade shade-grown coffee options available on Amazon

14. Try Using Reusable K-Cups for Coffee Grounds

These universal cups are a small and easy way to help your office go green and reduce its carbon footprint. They reduce waste and make a great cup of coffee!

Reusable K Cup - Reduces Waste and Saves Money - Easy Go Green Ideas for the Office
Reusable K Cups - Reusable and Refillable

Green Tips for Lighting and Cooling

15. Optimize the Use of Natural Light

If your office has windows, then be sure to optimize the natural light that they provide. Avoid turning on light bulbs during the day by keeping curtains, shades and blinds open.

For a more automated approach, you can try turning your office’s existing blinds into “Smart Blinds” controlled from your smart phone, Alexa, or Google. This DIY kit converts your existing horizontal blinds into automated blinds. Save time, energy and money by leveraging the blinds you already have!

Image of smart blinds logo

16. Invest in Energy Efficient Lighting

Switching to energy-efficient lights is a well-known strategy that saves electricity and money. These days energy-efficient lights come in all shapes and sizes. There is something for every need and every budget!

Energy Efficient Lamp - Available on Amazon
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs - Available on Amazon

17. Invest in Smart Plugs

Offices can automatically save energy by using smart plugs. Smart plugs are programmed to turn off devices such as lights, fans and appliances automatically. Most smart plugs allow you to control your devices from anywhere using an app on your phone.

Smart Wi-Fi Plug - Maximize energy savings
Amazon Smart Plug - Save energy in the office

18. Adjust Your Thermostat

Adjusting your thermostat 2 degrees up in the summer and 2 degrees down in the winter can save up to 2,000lbs of carbon dioxide per year!

Alternatively, you could use an energy efficient thermostat that conserves energy by itself. 

For example, the Nest Thermostat programs itself to save energy. It learns the temperatures you like and create a schedule that saves electricity and money. 

Nest Thermostat - Green Ideas for the Office

Green Tips for the Bathroom and Kitchen

19. Use Water Conservation Devices in the Bathroom

There are opportunities to save water in the bathroom too. For instance, a lot of people have had success in installing Tank Banks. 

Water Conserving Toilet Tank Bank

It is easy! All you do is hang the insert in the toilet tank, and it automatically saves about 1 gallon of water  per flush! It is simple and is maintenance-free.

You can also try installing sink accessories that automatically save water. 

For example, the sensor below automatically turns off the faucet water when someone pulls their hands away, resulting in up to 70% water savings! 

Water Saving Faucet Accessory
Water Saving Faucet Accessory

This sensor is easy to install and doesn’t require a plumber. It will fit onto virtually any faucet.

20. Encourage Water Saving with Tips and Instructions in Bathrooms 

Similarly, it might help to print out water-saving tips and instructions like the below and hang them up in the bathrooms. They are most helpful if they are above the sink where people can look at them directly when washing their hands. Try to swap the signs out and use creative designs to keep the message fresh.

A faucet that drips one second wastes 27,000 gallons of water annually

21. Put Hand Dryers in the Bathrooms

Using hand dryers instead of traditional paper towels will automatically reduce waste. A lot of hand dryers, such as the one shown below, plug in to regular outlets. 

Hand Dryer - Green Tips for the Bathroom
Environmentally Friendly Office - Hand Dryer

22. Use Compostable Trash Bags in the Kitchen 

Try using compostable trash bags that break down in the earth instead of traditional plastic trash bags. Using biodegradable trash bags is a simple change that can help the environment. The best part is that your employees and colleagues won’t notice the difference!

Compostable Trash Bags for the Kitchen
Sustainable Trash Bags for the Office

23. Use Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags

Are you looking for a way to freshen up a room without using harmful cleaning products or sprays?

Bamboo All Natural Air Fresheners

Use these all natural air fresheners to eliminate odors. These air fresheners are made from bamboo and can last for up to two years. Perfect for people that want a simple air freshener that will blend in.

24. Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products 

Ditch the harsh chemicals and try some natural all purpose cleaner.

All Natural Cleaner - Puracy - Available on Amazon
Benefits of All Natural Cleaner - Plant-based, safe to use around children, pets and food

25. Include Recycling Instructions Near Trash Cans and Recycling Bins

According to Stanford University, people are more likely to recycle if there are clear instructions on how to do it and an urgent message that describes the negative consequences of not recycling.

An example of helpful instructions and messages that you can print out for your employees or co-workers are below. It might be useful to place these above the trash can and recycling bins to spur people to recycle.

You can implement this green office idea today!

Picture of Items to Recylce vs. Items to Throw Away - Help Your Colleagues Implement Go Green Ideas for the Office
Picture Listing the Benefits of Recycling - Saves energy and reduces pollution

There are tons of go green ideas for the office that your company can implement today.

Start small and implement go green ideas in your day-to-day activities.

Then, if possible work your way up and encourage management to implement go green ideas for the entire organization. 

Executives will often feel good about saving money and creating an environmentally friendly office. 

Which go green ideas are you implementing in your office? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

Leave a Comment:

8 comments
Katelyn Howell says September 22, 2014

These are all great. New Things have happened since this article. For Starters, There is now a bio-based toner cartridge instead of the petroleum filled one. Environment First Printing manufactures a bio-based toner that uses soybean oil instead of petroleum… Check them out, I think you will be pleased!

Reply
Tracey Rawling Church says January 7, 2015

A couple of words of caution about bio-based toner. Firstly, there are concerns about the impact on food security/food prices due to the use of soybeans for industrial processes. Printing less is always the most environmentally-responsible solution – switching to bio-based toner isn’t a license to print! And if you purchase a printer that carries an Eco-mark such as Blue Angel that certifies process emissions levels during printing bear in mind that substituting another brand for the manufacturer’s own brand toner means that the emissions profile will change, rendering the label invalid.

Reply
Kelsey Twocu says February 22, 2016

Hi Tracey,

Thank you for your post! It prompted me to do my research. Well, the great news about Bio-Toner, at least the type that Environment First Printing brought to market uses ONLY soybean OIL…not the soybean. So no food security or food prices will be augmented. You are right, printing less is the best solution, but in our business…one must print.

So Glad we use bio-toner, and it sounds like a bunch of people online are using them now also…which is a great switch, it was for our office!

I think there are two suppliers, but we use Environment First Printing and find them to be very good. You can find them at http://www.environmentfirstprinting.com

Cheers!

Kelsy

Reply
Global For Life says March 8, 2016

This is the way how I want to practice in daily life to do such a balance for my environment in order I have joined to implement going green ideas.

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Sherrie says June 8, 2016

These are great!

But don’t put a brick in your toilet. THe brick will break down in time and cause plumbing problems. Use a “tank bank” or “toilet tummy” which will clip to the side and not move around, interfering with the inner workings of the toilet and causing different leaks.

Also bike mileage! There is car mileage, but bikes also need maintenance and having a reduced reimbursement per mile could encouraging bike commuting. 🙂

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Rachel Smith says June 5, 2017

Excellent suggestions and practical too. One thing that I would like to add is that by choosing window tinting, you can save on cooling costs too. It also helps keep out the harmful UV rays without compromising on the natural light entering the workplace.

Reply
Vicky Toomer says December 19, 2019

A unique list of ways to go green in the office. I like the option of removing the bins and having a central area for them. Lists like this help the switch to going green in the office and can really help to educate others. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Theresa says February 24, 2021

The tip to get rid of individual trashcans is great! This will encourage our employees to go to our main trashcan where they will also see our recycle bins. I think another great plan is to give each person a separate recycling bin.
Another great plan is to recycle your toner!!

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