As we’re heading back into the office, it’s important (and easy) to remember that every office can make small changes to make a big difference – not just to the environment, but to also save money.
Why should you make your office eco-friendly?
First and foremost, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take control of their actions to protect our environment. You may not think it’s much, but switching of lights when you’re leaving a room or fixing a dripping tap all adds up to avoiding wastage of precious resources.
Having a sustainable office also sets a great example to your employees and empowers them to continue to make changes in their home. More and more employees are focused on working with companies that value Corporate Social Responsibility, by implementing the following environmentally friendly things in the office, your business will be truly showing your commitment.
Here are some quick, easy changes to make your office sustainable.
1) Take the stairs
If your office is multi storey, save electricity by taking the stairs. Not only does this save on electricity, but it’s also good for your heart, joints and bones. Studies have also shown that taking the stairs is 15 minutes faster than taking the lift.
2) Rug up
Dressing appropriately for your eco-friendly office also helps with the heating and cooling bills. You can save energy by having blankets on hand or wearing extra layers in the colder months (rather than cranking up the heater) to save energy. Even if your office is running renewable energy, layering up saves precious resources!
3) Sensor lights
Being mindful of wasting electricity in the office is a big one – the main culprit being lights. Sensor lights in the office are a great way to save energy in the office as they’ll automatically switch themselves off if there’s no movement. Also bear in mind to switch off any outlets around the office that may be on as well – it all adds up.
4) Cycle or use public transport
This might seem like an obvious one, but taking public transport, walking, or cycling into work makes a huge impact on the reduction of carbon emissions, air pollution (which means better air quality) and congestion on roads. Not only that but you’ll save money too!
5) Go paperless
In today’s digital age, many offices are becoming eco-friendly by opting to go paperless. Going paperless saves literally billions of trees, which creates more oxygen in our atmosphere and reduces pollutants like carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide from the air we breathe. Win-win!
6) Buy recycled
Consider buying office stationery that is made with recycled content. Recycling only works when we buy products with recycled content (rather than virgin materials), and paper products and stationery are an easy and readily available option. Pens, highlighters and even notebooks are very common and easily accessible office accessories made with recycled materials!
7) Have recycling outlets for various waste streams
This may also seem like an obvious one but having recycling bins in the workplace and educating staff on ‘what goes in what bin’ can divert tonnes of waste from landfill. Not only the basics of co-mingled recycling, but also ‘hard to recycle’ streams like batteries, pens, cartridges, e-waste at Officeworks, coffee pods through Terracycle/Nespresso or single-use paper cups at Simply Cups.
8) Reusable cutlery
Having metal reusable cutlery in the office is a great help for those popping out for lunch and bringing it back to the office. It can be easy to underestimate the amount of waste that comes from single-use cutlery - most people only use 1 or 2 pieces from a cutlery pack, immediately throwing the rest in the bin - unused. Also bear in mind Australia’s single-use plastics ban coming into effect, so reusable cutlery is the way to go in an eco-friendly office.
9) Have reusable cups and drink bottles
If your staff are partial to a take-away coffee (or tea!), encourage them to use a reusable cup, such as the rCUP, or even sit down and enjoy their hot drink in a cup or mug on-site. Also, bygone is the ‘water cooler’ age with single use plastic cups for a quick hydration fix. Encourage staff to have water bottles or glasses at their desks to get their 2 litres a day.
10) Community Days
Start a sustainability committee in your office to educate and motivate your team. Themed events and days like ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ or ‘Plastic Free July’ are a great place to start. You can also encourage your team to minimise their footprint by having days where you ‘contain your waste’ or fun group quizzes about what you ‘can and can’t recycle’. There are many resources online, so check them out.