Being more eco-friendly at the office starts with what you, the employee, do. You don’t need to be a high-level manager to shake up habits and push for change. Inspire and lead by example. It’s time to take a risk. And who cares if you get the nickname Miss Eco or Mr. Green? That’s better than Miss Pain in the Backside or Mr. Slacker.
8 ways to be more eco-friendly at the office
When we think about sustainability at companies, we often blame large industry. Sure, production plants are major waste creators and energy consumers. But, we also pollute and generate waste in offices.
Have you considered your carbon footprint? And those of your 10, 100 or 1000 colleagues? Here are some eco-friendly actions you can take at work:
- Zero-plastic: water pitchers instead of individual bottles, washable glasses and cups instead of disposable ones.
- Zero-waste: mission (almost) impossible, but trash bins with recycling and sorting can be placed in several spots around the office.
- Zero-paper: take a look at your paper bin, specifically everything that you printed for no reason. One solution to reduce printing? Use dual monitors.
- Minimise travel: this is, without a doubt, one of the hardest things to change. Carpooling, remote work and the use of video conferencing instead of flying to international meetings are all ideas worth exploring by you and your bosses. Some executives even offer a reward for those who commute by bike.
- Turn off the lights: put signs up everywhere to remind people or install automatic timers.
- Save water: an automatic faucet system represents a 70% savings in water. Eco-friendly flushing saves thousands of litres of water per year.
- Review the heating system: at the company level, an energy audit makes sense. Changing the furnace, fuel, or insulation are all worthwhile measures both financially and for the benefit of the planet.
- Making an effort in the cafeteria: transporting food in washable jars or containers instead of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Fight against food waste by bringing surplus from your garden to share with coworkers.
- Favour natural: we’re turning to healthy and eco-friendly products to clean and disinfect.
Eco-friendly at work: ideas to inspire
Aside from traditional actions that you can take every day to be more eco-friendly, you could also consider the planet when designing your facilities and team building activities.
Decor? Eco-friendly both inside and out
Minimise plastic in favour of natural for decorations and design at work, if possible. High-quality and sustainable materials include:
- wood or cardboard furniture;
- metal for desks and surfaces;
- cork for flooring or walls.
And, to beautify your space, a little bit of nature inside or outside:
- Office plants. They are, it seems, a good source for improving mood and motivation;
- A company vegetable garden;
- A compost bin for recycling food waste from the cafeteria.
Corporate events? Give them an eco-friendly focus
First, start by planning less polluting events. But, you can do so much more. Have you considered more original and sustainable team-building activities than bowling or go-carts?
Why not have an event with the theme “my company loves the planet”? Some ideas:
- Plant one or more trees as a means of offsetting our carbon footprint;
- Organise volunteers for a day of service at a Natagora nature reserve;
- Clean up the sides of roads;
- Invite a presenter for a pallet furniture-making workshop;
- Launch an “our company’s vegetable patch” project.
Sharing these original and fun activities on your blog or social networking profiles will surely inspire other companies.
6 reasons to be eco-friendly at work
Sustainability at work doesn’t make sense unless you’re totally convinced. If you’re doing it just for greenwashing or so that you’re talked about, your good intentions or actions won’t last.
Interest relies on the snowball effect: first I take action, then my colleagues follow, then eventually management joins in and finally the whole company makes it a goal.
We do it because:
- what’s good for our planet is good for us;
- it’s urgent; need we remind you? Each action counts;
- it’s an obligation within the framework of your corporate social responsibility (CSR);
- it’s a savings: fewer chemical products, paper, travel and reduced water and energy bills;
- it creates a healthy and relaxing work environment;
- it creates connections: during your “Natagora volunteering” event, Lawrence from IT had a laugh with Isabelle from HR.
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