How to make your office space more sustainable

How to make your office space more sustainable

by Cecilia Dos Santos
Eco-friendly office

Sustainability is becoming more and more important in the business world. As we become increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, more and more businesses are looking for ways to make their offices more sustainable. There are many different ways to make your office eco-friendly, and in this blog post, we will discuss some of the most popular ones. We will also provide tips on how you can get started with sustainability in your office!

Avoid single-use cups

Coffee-mug

First thing first, I know that I used to waste a lot of single cups in my old office. It doesn’t matter if you drink water or enjoy coffee or tea. So invest in office cups and glasses, or bring your own! The initial cost might seem like a lot, but it will save you money in the long end!

All of this also applies to straws. Avoid single-use, and invest in ones in silicone, metal, glass, or bamboo. If you drink two cups of coffee a day, think about how much waste can be saved if you switch to reusable cups! This also goes with single-use cutlery and plastic bottles.

Another thing that you might not think about is replacing paper towels with cloth towels.

Print double-sided

Printer

We all know that paper waste is a huge problem. Save paper by limiting your printer use, and only print when it is necessary. Suppose you have to print more than one page, print double-sided. This can reduce your paper waste by up to 40%! When you print, you should try to use recycled paper.

Moreover, to reduce paper waste, begin sending all memos and announcements via email and keep all of your documents in a file-sharing application. By doing this, your office also can save money!

Decrease the brightness

Computer

When you finally shut down your computer and are hit with a headache, do you know that feeling? Yeah – that could be from having your computer light shining in your face all day. This has a significant environmental impact. Consider decreasing the brightness on your computer and your phone. It is better for you, and also for the environment! According to Harvard, reducing your screen brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% energy. Think about how big of a difference that could make if the entire office did this!

Unplug

Unplug your appliances

This one pretty much explains itself. Phantom power is a massive problem if you want to be more eco-friendly. Turn off your computer when you leave. And it is not enough to just shut it down. Unplug it!

You can reduce power consumption by unplugging it at the end of the day. The last person to leave the office should walk around and unplug all the appliances – the coffee machine, the printer, the copier, the computer, the dishwasher(if you have one), etc. Although office appliances use less energy when turned off, standby power still uses energy.

Recycle

Recycle

If you have individual trash cans, there is a good chance that your office waste is not being recycled. Good recycling habits are essential. According to Stanford University, people are more likely to recycle if there are clear instructions on doing it. The easier it is, the more people will do it. Some might think that recycling is troublesome but has no issue with doing it if it is straightforward.

To create a more successful recycling program, you should invest in trash cans dedicated to recycling. Moreover, make sure that everyone knows why they should recycle. If more people knew the exact reasons they should recycle, more people would be more inclined to do so.

So invest in a few recycling bins to encourage employees to recycle more and create a more eco-friendly office environment.

Transportation

Bicycle

Think about your commuting practices. How environmentally friendly are they? Most of us commute to and from work each day.

Consider using public transportation or a bike to work instead of taking the car every day. Cars contribute to large amounts of pollution. If public transport or taking the bike is not possible, consider carpooling to work with your co-workers, friends, or family. That way, you pollute less, as you are taking one car instead of two or three. This, of course, only makes sense if you live relatively close to each other.

If you want to do more, we definitely suggest that you have a few days a month where you work from home.

Turn off the lights

lightswitch

Many of us walk into the office in the morning and turns on the lights as the first thing. But do you need to?

Try to stop and think if you need the lights to be turned on. For example, if your office is well-lit naturally, there is no need to turn off the lights. Natural light, combined with light wall colors, often is enough.

You can also consider switching to motion-activated light switches in places like the restrooms so that people don’t forget to turn off the lights.

Make sure that you turn off all lights when you leave the office. Walk around and double-check the restrooms and conference rooms to ensure that the lights are turned off.

Adjust your thermostat

Thermostat

As with the lights, keep the thermostat in mind when you arrive and leave the office. Don’t just leave it on if it is not needed. Moreover, if your office space also has an air conditioning system, try to be more conscious about your settings. Do you need it to be on?

Moreover, don’t have your windows open when the heat or air conditioner is running. It makes the systems work less efficiently and uses much more energy than if they were closed.

And, of course, remember to turn it off when you leave the office! The last person that leaves has the responsibility to double-check.

Get an office plant

Office plant / Desk Plant

…or two! Natural resources are always a go-to if possible. Not only do they bring good vibes to the office, but they also do good for you and the rest of the office. A desk plant increases the air quality in the room by helping to remove the toxins in the air that can be created by the office appliances, such as a printer. So get an indoor plant to get better indoor air quality! A bonus is that they are also pretty to look at.

Office snacks and meals

Fruit basket / Office snacks

If you haven’t thought about it, consider vegetarian options for lunch. By eating more veggies and ditching the meat, you save water and help lower the office’s carbon footprint.

Moreover, we all love a snack or two during the long days at the office. Rethink your office snacks. If the budget allows it, make sure you receive your snacks and coffee from local companies. If you buy your snacks yourself, opt for snacks that are not packed in plastic. Buy more fruit and veggies, and rethink the nuts and chocolate bars. It will also be healthier for your colleagues!

Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Eco-friendly cleaning products

Ditch the harsh chemicals and opt for some more natural products. Green cleaning supplies are healthier to be around and to use, and they are more environmentally friendly. You can buy eco-friendly alternatives to every cleaning product in most grocery stores. Furthermore, you can also rethink how often you want your office cleaned. If you have weeks where there aren’t as many people in the office, arrange for the cleaning to be skipped that week.

I hope that you liked this blog post on how to make your office more sustainable! Sustainability is important for both our planet and our wallets. You can create a more sustainable office space that benefits the environment and your bottom line by following these simple tips. Have you tried any of these sustainability hacks in your office? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below!

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