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Author
Athina Weber
Author
Leila Strebel

Dedicated to the WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2019 on the 5th of June 

Have you ever wanted to go greener? Adjust what you consume and what you buy? While doing this at home is somehow achievable, it can be more of a challenge trying to make this change in your office. After all, your work colleagues and boss might not share the same ambitions as you on living more sustainably. But there are a few things that you and your company can do to make your office more environmentally friendly. Check out these 10 tips on how you can make your office more sustainable:

1. Eco-friendly commute

Let’s start with how you get to work. Obviously, going to work every day by car isn’t environmentally friendly at all. Try walking to work or going there by bicycle. Depending on the duration of your commute, this is more or less achievable. If the route is too long for that, taking public transport or combining it with walking or a shorter bicycle ride is a good alternative. This is not only good for the planet but also gives you some exercise. If there is no other option but getting to work by car, maybe you know someone at work or around your office who would be happy about a lift and therefore sharing the commute and participating in the costs. 

2. Switch off after work

Perhaps one of the most obvious improvements in saving energy is to switch off all computers, monitors, printers and other electronic devices at the end of your working day. This saves a lot of electricity and a fair amount of the monthly electricity bill. If you have a microwave in the office kitchen, don’t forget to switch it off, or if necessary unplug completely, as microwaves use up a lot of energy, even in standby mode.

3. Recycle

In general, we spend a lot of time at the office, which leads to a lot of waste being collected during these hours. Make sure to recycle as much as possible. Ideally, your company provides containers or different collector bins to recycle the following materials separately:

  • Paper

Collect all magazines and misprinted documents and get them recycled. If certain papers can be reused to take notes or similar, collect them on a separate pile, so everyone can reuse them.

  • Plastic

Try buying products with as little plastic as possible. If you have plastic to throw away, make sure that it is done correctly.

  • Aluminum

This can range from coffee capsules to take away food bowls. Don’t worry if there is still some melted cheese from your lunch burrito sticking to them, it can still be recycled.

  • Food

If possible, collect food scraps that can be composted, such as fruit peel, vegetable scraps, eggshells, used tea bags or coffee grounds (meat, bones, dairy products, citruses or leftovers that have been cooked, marinated or salted should not be composted). Maybe someone in the office has a compost heap at home or you can place a worm box somewhere on the balcony or near the kitchen. The microorganisms and the worms in a worm box decompose all of the substances, leaving behind nutritious humus, which you can use for your office plants or the next gardening project.

4. Go paper free

Avoid printing any documents, and if you have to, then use recycled paper and print on both sides of the paper. Show your notes or presentations on PowerPoint instead of printing them for the whole team. Additionally, instead of copying documents that you receive, scan them and save them in a cloud-based storage.

5. More plants

Say yes to better air in your office. Having more plants is always good for the planet. Besides that, many plants create good air through purifying properties. Plants filter pollutants, catch dust, produce oxygen and regulate the room climate and its humidity. Just keep in mind that the plants have to be watered regularly or sometimes even get transferred to a bigger pot. If you often forget to water your plants, have a go with a succulent plant, although they are not as air purifying, they are much easier to care for and give a touch of green to your office space.

6. Work from home

If you have the possibility to work from home, even if it is just one or two days a week, it will have a positive impact on the environment. It means you are not commuting to work and can cut down on carbon emissions. Furthermore, you can cook your own meals at home. If your company doesn’t offer the possibility of working at home, try to convince your boss on how beneficial this could be for you and the company, pointing out that you can work more efficiently and without the distractions at the office.  

7. Use laptops

A regular computer uses up much more energy than a laptop. This is one reason for using a laptop at work. Another good reason is the freedom it brings along of working at home or remotely if this is desired by you and approved by your company. As we have touched above, working from home is very sustainable in terms of reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, a laptop is ideal to bring to team meetings, allowing you to reduce print outs.

8. Eco-friendly food

What you eat can make a huge difference in your ecological footprint. Choose vegetarian options over meals with meat. Also seasonal and local foods are much more sustainable. Try switching up lunches and snacks at your office meetings with one of these options. If your company offers a well-equipped kitchen, perfect! This means you can cook or heat up your own meals and don’t have to get take away food or eat with single-use plastic cutlery. If you like to pick up a takeaway coffee on your way to work, invest in a reusable cup. Most coffee shops are more than happy to fill your bring-along-cup with your preferred beverage and you will be able to cut down on those single-use coffee cups.

9. Introducing video conferences

Working in an office or in a team usually means there are several meetings you have to attend monthly, weekly or even daily. If they are in the same building, this is not as problematic, but if attending a meeting means traveling to another city or even another country, there is a lot of emissions being released. Try to introduce phone or video conferences. It makes it easy for everyone to engage, discuss and make decisions, no matter where every single participant is located.

10. Declutter and invest in sustainable furniture

Even in a small office, there are a lot of office supplies in use or waiting to be used. Knowing where everything is and having an organized material cabinet will ensure that there won’t be too many supplies and that everybody finds what they need. Having the office decluttered will allow a better overview and more room for good energy. Get rid of furniture nobody needs and recycle or donate items or promotional gifts that aren’t of use anymore. If new furniture has to be bought, invest in “green” furniture that is produced of sustainable materials such as bamboo or FCS wood. Use environmentally friendly office products, like refillable pens or non-toxic highlighters. If you are not responsible for the purchases of your company, talk to the person who is or make suggestions to your boss on how the office furniture could be more sustainable.

We should all raise our awareness of the environment. Hopefully, these tips can help you in creating a more sustainable office for you and your work colleagues! #together #gogreen

Do you have more tips on how to make your office sustainable? Let us know!

 

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Author
Athina Weber
Author
Leila Strebel