How to Create a Green Office

How to Create a Green Office

In order to combat today’s environmental crisis, it’s imperative that offices, schools, factories, restaurants, and the places where many spend forty hours or more a week make an effort to reduce energy consumption, waste, use eco-friendly/fair trade products and offer incentives for “green” commuting.

The following are basic steps that most offices can implement right away. It may help for the business to designate one or two people per floor or department to enforce these tasks.

Easy Ways to Save Energy at the Office

  1. Turn off all lights when not in use, especially at night and over the weekend.
  2. Turn heating and air conditioning down at night and over the weekend. During work, businesses should keep them low and find resourceful ways of staying cool or warm, like drinking tea and taking breaks to move around when too cold. Plastic window insulation helps conserve energy and save money.
  3. Shut down computers every night, before weekends or long absences.
  4. Unplug items like coffee makers, toasters, and even microwaves when leaving the office for the night and weekend. Electrical currents are still present when these appliances are plugged in, but not in use.

Ways to Conserve, Recycle, and Reuse at the Office

  1. Recycle batteries, old electronics, finished ink toner cartridges. By making a designated place where these items can be placed, more people are likely to do it rather than hesitate and just throw them out.
  2. Make sure to have a supply of glasses, silverware, and plates for eating. No paper cups, plates, plastic water bottles, or plastic silverware should be purchased for the office, unless they are compostable.
  3. Recycling bins should be large enough and placed in key locations (even bathrooms for wet paper towels) so that employees know to use them and don’t revert to the trash can upon seeing a stuffed recycling bin.
  4. A clearly visible poster explaining items that can and cannot be recycled should be posted in a common gathering area.
  5. Paper should not be printed out unless absolutely necessary, and if so, should be printed double-sided.
Recycling Bins
Recycling Bins By totalbins.co.nz

Fair Trade and Eco-Friendly Office Products

One of the most important eco-friendly purchases one can make for both the office and home are green cleaning products. Most work just as well as non-green cleaners and are not only better for the environment, but for the health of employees as well.

Buying fair trade coffee, tea, honey, wine, chocolate and office snacks ensure that those who produce them are paid a just price, while the cultivation of these products is done in a sustainable manner.

Those ordering office supplies should consider using a green office website.

Tips for a More Sustainable Workplace

For businesses inspired to go environmentally above and beyond at work, green workshops with guest speakers that educate staff on topics like organic shopping, growing local food, caring for one’s bicycle (to start riding to work), how to compost, or greening one’s home can be made relevant to individual companies.

Offering employee incentives for commuting via public transportation discourages driving, especially for staff located in urban settings.

Whenever possible, employees should stay in eco-friendly hotels when on the road or hosting clients.

By greening a workplace, less damage is done to the environment while employees become educated on ways to preserve our planet’s resources and benefit from healthier living.

Gina Jessop
Written by: Gina Jessop