Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees. Now imagine the amount of tree’s and resources your office could save if you started taking the initiative to reduce the amount of paper and material waste in just one year.
We are currently living in a time where a lot of people and organizations are becoming more aware of the global crisis we are facing with pollution, the deforestation, and rapid climate change. Though in their acknowledgement of the disasters going on in the planet, many people do not know where to actually start helping make a change.
While you are on your way to figuring out what policies your workplace should set in place for a greener initiative, we’ve curated a list of five things you can start doing in your office to help make this planet a little more green.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This one is definitely the easiest on our list of ways you can make your office a little more green. Taking the conscious effort to look around your office space and think about the things you use everyday and replace them with things you can reuse or potentially recycle them.
Here is a list of a few things that fall into the 3 R’s.
- Drinking Glasses
- Reusable Napkins
- Metal Straws
- Paper products
- ink cartridges
- lunch boxes
Of course, if you still have left over one use plates, cups, cutlery etc please do not throw these out. Please be sure to use the products you have until they are entirely depleted. Creating waste of perfectly good products is not the message being shared here. Once you have used all of the products, just simply replace them with reusable products.
2. Switch To Energy Saving Appliances
This one can be more of the investment type of idea. Think of what major appliances are used in your office space everyday.
- Is the company fridge energy efficient?
- The light bulbs in your lighting, are they L.E.D‘s?
- Do your appliances draw energy when not in use?
- How much water is being wasted in your bathrooms?
Asking yourselves these questions is the first step in figuring out where the bulk of your energy consumption maybe coming from. Making a switch to a more green solution not only saves the planet, but can also help your overall budget on monthly utilities.
3. Use Environmentally Conscious Products
This one might be the most surprising on how easy it is to begin incorporating more environmentally friendly products into the everyday work life. For example, your daily lunch, you can start bringing in a lunch box to carry your food around in. If your excuse is you buy your lunch everyday, well news flash, most places will actually allow you to request your food be placed in your specific containers. This also applies to your drinks as well, just be ready to have your thermos, and reusable water bottle on hand.
In the office you can start implementing these environmentally friendly products as well.
- Coffee machines with reusable filters
- Reusable tea steeper
- Reusable paper towels
- Glass or Metal vs Plastic
4. Create Monthly Energy Saving Goals
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average annual electricity use for commercial building space is 14 kWh per square foot, and the average natural gas usage is 42 cubic feet per square foot. In 2016, it was reported there was 550 million square feet of office space in New York City.
Calculating those numbers I came up with a very large number, it was one of those numbers where you look at it and couldn’t possibly believe was true. So, keeping the idea of how large that number is, creating a monthly energy saving goal is kind of imperative in our eyes.
Though the question is, how to actually get people involved in reducing their energy use, because let’s face it, we can not function on low power. Well, since it’s in human nature to want to succeed and nothing gets people more excited than a little bit of competition…Why not make this competition one we can all win?
Every month you can challenge those on your teams to be the most environmentally conscious individuals, floor, building, etc. Start by pointing out where your team leads in energy consumption. Be it light use, technology use, water use, the list can go on. Then introduce the goals, maybe they can be how much these teams can reduce their over all use but still keeping their productivity high.
Throwing in an incentive at the end of each month is a great way to keep people interest in keeping their usage low. Be it a mini reward like a trophy type item or the benefit of a gift card, make it something everyone wouldn’t mind working for.
5. Introduce Live Plants
Introducing live plants into your work space can actually improve the overall air quality and get this, they don’t even use up energy (well the harmful kind). If you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll be more inclined to listen to the people behind getting us to the moon. NASA actually conducted a study on which plants help purify the air from toxins. To which they found these plants served best when placed in an indoor setting, removing 60-80% of the pollutants in the air.
- Peace lily
- English Ivy
- Red-edged dracaena
- Chinese Evergreen
- Green Spider Plant
- Golden Pothos
Before you begin to bring in plants from outside of your work place, be sure there are no conflicting issues anyone in the office may have with your plants. Allergies or reactions people may have to those specific environmental changes could be life threatening.