A lot of people think that going green at work is about recycling and reducing paper use, and while those things can help, they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. The ways you can go green don’t all focus on your office – you can take steps to be greener everywhere you go.
A green workplace helps reduce the negative environmental impact of your company. This might sound like a big change, but it’s actually way easier than you think.
The first step is to figure out ways you can make your workplace greener. The ways below are all pretty easy but combined they’ve got the potential to make a serious impact on the environment.
Ways to Go Green at Work
The following 20 ways will show how going green is not only good for the environment; it can also save you money and help attract top talent to your company.
1. Take public transportation or carpool to work instead of driving alone.
It’s better for the environment. You won’t be adding to air or noise pollution by driving alone in your car, which contributes to global warming and climate change.
Money saving. If you take public transportation or carpool with someone, this is not only greener than driving alone but also saves you money compared to driving.
Less stressful than driving alone in your car. Public transportation and carpooling can be less stressful than driving, especially during rush hour traffic.
Better for public health. Driving in today’s cities is not only dangerous but also unhealthy with the polluted air that people breathe in when walking or biking to work (assuming they do).
2. Use your computer’s “Save to PDF” function
This is a greener alternative to printing out large documents you might only need a few pages from.
3. Use energy-efficient light bulbs in your workspace and home
Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones that use 25%-80% less electricity than regular ones. Another option is to buy LED lights that last much longer than conventional bulbs and use 90% less electricity.
4. Upgrade your office decor
Suggest that real plants be placed throughout your office and other indoor working spaces. Because carbon is stored in plants, putting them inside filters the air. They also create a more peaceful and enjoyable environment for everyone.
5. Don’t trash gently used material and items
Donate books and manuals that could be of benefit to someone else. When you upgrade equipment, see if someone else may need what you are replacing. Oftentimes, we forget that many of the items we no longer use can be of value to others.
6. Purchase gently used items for work
You would be surprised at the quality of clothing you’ll find at thrift stores that are appropriate for work, along with miscellaneous items for storage or general decor. Office furniture, including chairs and desks, can also be bought and re-purposed if desired. Shopping this way is eco-friendly when considering the natural resources that are exhausted to constantly produce new items.
7. Use lights with motion sensors
When you use lights with motion sensors, you don’t have to remind everyone to turn the lights off in order to conserve energy. Motion lights are also extremely convenient since they intuitively know when they are needed, and they are quite appreciated by workers who are often on the move and carrying many items at once.
8. Drink More Water, Less Coffee
If you’re looking to reduce waste at work, try drinking more from the tap and less from your coffee machine. A lot of coffee shops sell reusable cups that can be filled with a pound of coffee daily for a reduced price. With this, you can cut down than regular bulbs.
9. Reduce Paper Use
Print double-sided documents and use both sides of paper wherever possible (including printer paper, copy room paper). Also, print only when necessary instead of printing everything you see.
10. Turn Off Unnecessary Electronics
Turn off all unnecessary electronics when they are not being used – TVs, computers, monitors, printers, photocopiers, etc.
11. Recycle Everything
One of the easiest ways to go green at work is by recycling everything you can. Make sure that all your office’s recyclables are kept separate and picked up regularly whether it be every week or once a day.
12. Shop Secondhand
Another way to go green at work is by shopping second-hand. Many items can be found in thrift stores, hand-me-downs from friends or relatives, Craigslist and eBay listings. This reduces the need for buying new goods which help save energy and resources required to make them.
13. Turn It Off!
One of the simplest ways to go green at work is by turning off all electronics, lights and appliances when not in use.
14. Use a Water Bottle Instead of Plastic Bottles
Cut down on plastic bottles by using a reusable water bottle as often as possible which you can fill up with clean tap water at your convenience.
15. Buy clothes you can get more use out of my shopping at thrift stores
16. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full to keep water waste down.
17. Use rechargeable batteries for all your household electrical equipment
Instead of disposable ones because it takes 40 seconds of running water to fill a one-litre bottle — that’s two weeks of water wasted in the bathroom alone.
This also reduces the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills every day which harms the environment.
18. Unplug Your Gadgets!
This is one of the easiest ways to go green at work. Unplug all chargers and other electronics that you’re not using – it can save a lot of energy which is harmful to the environment.
19. Get a “Bag-for-Life” Instead of Plastic Bags
A great way to go green at work is by getting a “Bag-for-Life” which you can re-use over and over again for picking up groceries or other shopping. This reduces the number of plastic bags going to landfills every year which is harmful to the environment.
20. Keep an Eye Out for Leftovers
At the end of the workday, keep an eye out for leftover food that can be used as snacks during your break or for tomorrow’s lunch. This helps reduce the amount of food going to landfills each year which also harms the environment.
How do I start a green initiative at work?
Depending on the size of your company and how much money you have, there are ways to go green that range from cheap to expensive. It is best to keep in mind that going green should be a process, not an event. Following this philosophy means starting small, testing it out, and scaling up if necessary.
All companies are different, so it is important to take into account what would work for your co-workers and organization. It does not make sense to consult with everyone on ways to go green at work if their suggestions do not help the bottom line or are not sustainable.
Some ways to go green are easy and cost very little, while others are more expensive and take longer. Companies need to take a look at what makes the most sense from both a financial perspective as well as an effort perspective. Some examples of ways that have worked are changes to the office layout, recycling, paperless billing, teleconferencing instead of travelling for meetings, and more.
When ways of going green involve multiple people across a company then it is more likely that they will be implemented because each person working with or for your organization has their motivations to partake in ways to go green at work.
If ways of going green can make their jobs easier, more efficient, or save them money (for example), then they are more likely to be enthusiastic about taking part in ways to go green at work. You should also consider giving incentives like contests for ways to go green in ways that make the most sense financially.
How can I make my office environment friendly?
It is possible to make the office friendlier environmentally without sacrificing security or comfort. You can do so by recycling, using energy-efficient appliances, taking regular breaks, and checking for ways to further conserve energy in the office.
In today’s global society, ways to go green in the workplace are gaining popularity as ways to contribute towards a greener environment. Green living tips can be serious or just for fun, but going green at work is a great way to become healthier and simultaneously save resources.
Although going green at work may not be easy for everyone due to various factors, changing ways to go green at work is not nearly as arduous as it sounds. For example, ways to go green in the workplace can include recycling supplies and asking your employer for ways you can help reduce materials consumed during daily operations.