Building a green team is a great way to implement environmental initiatives and go green at work.
Green teams bring together a group of like-minded staff who want to take action to improve the environmental performance of their organisation.
However, going green at work can be a challenge in terms of finding the time, resources and budget to take action.
Below are 10 low cost actions which can be taken by a green team to improve an organisation’s environmental impact.
Before we get started here is how you can setup a green team
No 1. Write an environmental policy for your organisation
Writing an environmental policy is a great place to start as a green team as it helps set the direction for the group as well as provides an overarching framework for any environmental actions.
When writing your environmental policy think about some of the key objectives that you would like to commit to in the policy as well as the targets you will set to demonstrate your commitment.
Remember, an environmental policy should be written on a single A4 page which is signed by the most senior person in your organisation and widely communicated internally and externally.
We provide a detailed guide with internationally compliant environmental policy templates to help you quickly and effectively write a policy that you would be proud to share on your website and with customers. We charge a nominal fee for the guide and guarantee it will give you exactly what you need for your environmental policy. Click here to have a look out our environmental policy templates.
No 2. Implement a comprehensive recycling scheme
Setting up a comprehensive recycling scheme is a great green team action as it is very visual and therefore will help raise the profile of other environmental efforts that you might be implementing.
Comprehensive recycling means trying to reduce landfill waste to a minimum by recycling as many forms of rubbish as you can. This includes the recycling of paper, card, glass, plastics, CDs, toners, batteries, fluorescent tubes, IT equipment, furniture etc.
Every organisation will always have some residual waste which will be sent to landfill. You could consider going zero-to-landfill by incinerating this waste. Here are some top tips for implementing a recycling scheme
No 3. Run a switch off campaign
Running a switch off campaign is a good way to raise awareness of the wasted energy that occurs from people leaving on lights and computers.
Key to a good switch off campaign is creating engaging visuals or sending provocative emails which illustrate the extent to which energy is wasted.
For example you could point out how much energy is wasted from leaving a computer on over night, or leaving the lights on in the office. You could also run a competition between different teams to see who leaves computers on during the evening. Those who have turned off their computers can be rewarded by leaving a chocolate on their keyboard to surprise them in the morning.
The trick is to be creative and capture people’s attention so that they take a minute to think about switching lights and computers off.
No 4. Install water hippos in the toilets
To dramatically reduce your water consumption you can install water hippos in the toilet cisterns. Depending on the age of your cistern this can halve the amount of water used per flush. Once in place, start tracking your water bill consumption. What are the results? Publish them so staff can see what has been achieved.
Here are some more cool water saving devices and tips
No 5. Measure your organisation’s carbon footprint
Measuring your carbon footprint is a great way to show that you are taking practical action to manage your environmental impact.
A carbon footprint will help you get a sense of the scale of your environmental impact, prioritise which areas need attention, and setup actions to reduce your emissions.
If you are new to carbon footprinting don’t worry, this article on how to calculate a carbon footprint shows you everything you need to know.
No 6. Run a green awareness day
To help raise awareness about your organisation’s environmental impact and commitment to improve it is useful to run an awareness day.
This could entail inviting people to a seminar where you can talk about your carbon footprint and strategise how to improve it, or it could be more general, such as a screening of an awareness film like An Inconvenient Truth.
Try and coincide your awareness day with big environmental campaigns like Earth Hour, this should get you more mileage
No 7. Start composting food waste
If your organisation has a canteen or has lots of food waste from staff making lunches then you may want to consider composting your food waste. Collecting food waste can be quite tricky, and smelly so it is important that you get the right equipment and service providers.
The best service providers that I have seen offer a service to collect your food waste which then turn into compost and sell back to you in the form of substrate for office plants. A great closed loop system
No 8. Implement a green purchasing scheme
The average office uses a multitude of different consumables on a daily basis. Implementing a green purchasing policy is an effective way to source consumables which have a lower environmental impact. Typical consumables include green stationary such as recycled paper, green cleaning products and fair trade teas, coffees and fruit
No 9. Establish a car pool scheme for staff
If lots of your staff drive into work you could try establishing a car pool system to reduce the amount of drivers, and hence demand on parking spaces; as well as help reduce the emissions associated with the staff commute. A car pool system is a win-win as staff reduce their commuting expenses and frustration with finding parking and the organisation benefits from reduced emissions for its carbon footprint and hopefully a more sociable and collaborative workforce
No 10. Organise a company environmental volunteering programme
Many people in an organisation may be interested in volunteering for an environmental charity or social enterprise but don’t because of time and social constraints. A company volunteering scheme is a great way for an organisation to allow it staff to give back to the community.
Most staff would welcome such an initiative as they can partake with other colleagues and are provide time to participate. On the flip side an organisation gets the benefit from providing a staff perk which can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction, as well as gaining brownie points for their corporate social responsibility agenda.
So that is it for our list of 10 low cost and practical green teams actions to go green at work. If you have any more suggestions we would love to hear from you in the comment box below.
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