Sustainable living isn’t just for the home. More and more businesses are going green with big statements, such as switching to solar or wind power, and small, such as using recycled paper. Whatever your business’s approach is, here are some simple tips for sustainable living at the office.
This is one of the simplest and most obvious environmental measures you can take just about anywhere you are. Instead of dropping your can or bottle in the nearest trash can, walk a few extra steps to the nearest recycling bin.
24. Use recycled paper and paper towels
Recycled paper may cost a few cents more, but considering how much paper many businesses go through the benefit to the environment is worth it.
One step up from recycling, some items completely biodegrade. It’s a great option for food waste, but napkins, paper towels and paper can also be composted. These days even more items are being manufactured to biodegrade, such as corn-based “Styrofoam” and cellophane.
22. Stop using Styrofoam and wax-coated cups
Styrofoam will never biodegrade, and wax-coated cups go into landfills of necessity, because the wax coating prevents them from being recyclable. Try using plain paper cups at the water cooler, or better yet bring your own cup or water bottle to work.
21. Use biodegradable cleaners
You don't have to sacrifice cleanliness for sustainable living. There are plenty of effective but non-toxic cleaners on the market. From degreasers like Simple Green and Krud Kutter, to non-toxic carpet cleaner, sustainable options are out there.
20. Use refillable or biodegradable pens
Some plastics are fully functional yet fully biodegradable.
19. Turn off lights when they 19re not in use
A great way to implement this is to install a motion sensor for lighting.
18. Make sure toilets don’t run excessively and the faucets don’t drip
Hundreds of gallons of water are lost every year through leaky faucets. Simple maintenance saves the environment.
17. Turn off computers and machines when they 19re not in use
Machines that are on “stand-by” or “hibernate” still use energy. If they’re left on every night in this state the energy loss adds up quickly.
16. If possible, carpool to work with co-workers
This is a great way to also reduce transportation costs and provides a change to socialize with co-workers.
15. Walk or bike to work if you’re close enough
You’ll be green and feel great, too. A little exercise before work will help you feel energised.
14. Place fillers in toilet tanks so the toilets use less water
A brick or a bag of sand will do the trick, just make sure the toilet still flushes the way it should.
13. Go solar or wind-powered
If you’re in a position of upper management, consider the long-term savings and sustainability offered by going solar. There are plenty of rebates and tax credits available which make it feasible for many companies. Businesses that go solar often get a lot of attention from the community, as well.
12. Make sure the HVAC system is up to snuff
The HVAC system operates in the background so it’s easy to overlook, but poorly sealed ducts and neglected equipment all contribute to energy loss and big bills.
11. Make sure fluorescent lights don’t buzz
This is a simple fix for an unnecessary energy waster.
10. Opt out of receiving phone books
So many forests are destroyed every year to produce these massive tomes most of us rarely use anymore, thanks to the convenience of the internet. Save a tree or two.
9. Stop junk mail
It can be difficult to get the junk mail spammers to stop sending you mail you’ll never open, but it’s worth the effort. If your business sends junk mail in the form of “valuable advertisements,” consider using an email system instead.
8. Reduce your waste
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do for the environment is to stop using things you don’t need and then throwing them away. Do you really need to use an entire sheet of paper to scrawl a quick note? Will it just go in the trash afterwards? Use resources wisely and make sustainable living a habit.
7. Recycle old ink cartridges
Too many end up in landfills, where their toxins poison the ecosystem.
6. Use green adhesives
Plenty of green glues and tapes are available that aren’t produced with toxic manufacturing methods.
5. Telecommute if you can
Telecommuting saves the cost of actually commuting, also saves time, energy and cuts back on pollution.
4. Hold conferences online or over the phone
Think of all the energy that will be saved if coworkers don’t have to travel to a meeting.
3. Recycle old machines and equipment
What to do with all those electronics, printers and copiers? Don’t just toss them out, where they’ll turn landfills into junkyards. Call your local recycling company and ask if they have recommendations.
2. Use recycled toilet paper
No, it’s not gross.
1. Install automatic hand dryers, or use recycled paper hand towels
If you go with the hand towels option, recycle them again after you’ve dried off. Or better yet, place a compost bin in the bathroom and give those paper towels right back to the earth.
Sustainable living at work can make a dramatic difference to the environment. Not only will it protect our world, but sustainable living demonstrates your commitment and responsibility to employees and clients.