Are you the Captain Planet of your office? These 6 easy tips could help you go green at work and dramatically reduce the impact you and your co-workers have on the environment, climate and our Earth.
Sarah Neal has been volunteering at the Sydney office for years: archiving, campaigning and mercilessly correcting our grammatical errors. She’s also keen on maintaining a sustainable, low-resource lifestyle. Here are her tips for keeping your office green and Earth-friendly.
1. Try to cut down on energy use
It’s best to avoid purchasing anything battery operated. If it’s essential, try keeping some rechargeable batteries in the office. Here are some of her other tips for saving energy in the office:
- Only use hot water when necessary
- If you can, use stairs instead of the lift
- Always turn off your computer at the end of the day
2. Recycle all you can
The only way to recycle as much of your rubbish as possible is to know how to recycle. Find out who your recycling company is and talk to them about their specifications for recycling. Maybe they need you to separate waxed coffee cups from their lids or don’t accept juice cartons with foil insides. Ensuring you know what bin to put your rubbish in makes sure that nothing ends up at the dump when it could be made into something else.
If possible, keep a box for recycling unusual office items like batteries and printer cartridges. Here’s a great list of how to recycle other items that might be used in your office.
3. Veer away from single use containers and plastics
When you’re heading out to buy lunch or a coffee, try to take a container with you instead of coming back with another one.
Going to the supermarket? Take a shopping bag with you. It’s a good idea to keep some reusable bags in the office kitchen for when you’ve forgotten yours.
For take-out, try bringing along your own container. You might even get a little extra! Similarly, you could collect donated containers in your kitchen. Avoid getting plastic knives, spoons and forks – instead bring food back to the office and use office cutlery, or keep some at your desk.
If you need a caffeine hit, don’t forget your travelling mug. A free reusable coffee cup could be a great holiday present or welcome to the office gift for newbies.
4. Be careful with paper use
In 2015, we should be printing in the office sparingly. Try to use recycled paper, print on both sides, and avoid printing on glossy paper or in colour. Check Print Preview before printing to avoid making mistakes.
In the office, we reuse paper printed on one-side to make notebooks for staff.
5. Don’t waste food
Don’t leave your leftover food indefinitely in the office fridge. Not only will it go off and leave less room for your co-workers, when it’s thrown out it’ll contribute to the enormous global problem of food waste. If you can’t finish your lunch, share it with a friend or make sure it hits the compost bin instead of the trash.
Bonus tip: if your workplace is a cafe or restaurant in Australia, you can donate your leftover food to OzHarvest. They redistribute leftover food to 500 charitable organisations around the country, including homeless shelters and women’s refuges.
6. Look after your plants
Think your office could do with some fresh air? Try working on a space station. When NASA wanted to help its astronauts breathe more easily, they used plants that improve air quality. Office plants can be great for cleaning pollutants from the air, but don’t give your plants too much love by overwatering them. Have a look at this blog to find out which plants can help purify the air in your office.