How You Can Minimize Your Office

 Caitlyn Bell
  Oct 09, 2018

Unless you’re lucky enough to be a landscaper or a trade worker, chances are you’re stuck inside all day, employed in an office. It can feel like you’re in another world, but what happens inside will still affect the outside. Offices have a huge environmental footprint - bigger than the average home - and the changing climate is making the waste crisis bigger than ever before. So if there’s a lot of room for improvement in your workplace’s sustainable mindset, here are some tips and tricks you can bring to work with you.

The Print Footprint

An office is bound to go through reams of paper in printing, even as technology gradually moves away from physical documents in this digital age. Printers cost a lot in upkeep - both in money and the environmental impact of paper and waste. Recycle empty printer cartridges and toners by returning them to the manufacturer or a collection box, instead of dumping them and letting them go to landfill. Saving paper saves trees, so another worthy goal is to try to limit the number of copies you make of any particular document and resist the temptation to print things that can just as easily stay in the digital world. If this means your business’ procedures have to adapt to suit new technologies, then so be it.

The Foot Footprint

Parking your car near your workplace every day will cost you a small fortune, regardless of cheaper deals like a yearly parking pass. Counter-intuitively, despite the size difference, driving a car will do more damage to the environment per passenger than a train or bus. Walking, biking, and using public transport are better methods of transport than driving. So if you and your fellow office travelers are driving to work along the same roads, then at the very least you should all be carpooling. Whenever possible, taking public transport or riding a bicycle are the most sustainable travel options to reduce your carbon footprint.

Reuse Recycle

If all else fails, recycle everything! Having multiple bins available for recycling, different types of food waste, and rubbish in the kitchen can greatly reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Food waste and other organics can be composted to feed new plants and rejoin nature’s cycle, and recycling programs can always find uses for cardboard, paper, and glass. Just adding an extra bin under desks so workers can have the option of waste or recycling, without the walk to the kitchen, can do wonders for your carbon footprint.

Extra Electricity

It seems like the only cost of energy and electricity is money, but the companies providing those services are generating it unsustainable, and that makes it extremely costly to the environment. The carbon emissions from the workplace computers may not rival those from the power plant, but it’s important to remember that you’re really consuming both. At work, switch off everything when you’re not using it, and remember to switch off power at the wall at the end of every day so energy won’t be wasted through the night. Suggest installing solar panels - they may be a pricey investment, but they’re a great use of the otherwise wasted roof space typical of an office building. This won’t just save the environment - solar power can halve your power bill, and the little extra time you spend turning things off at the wall will change your bottom line for the better too.

A Lifetime of Lunch

So much food is excessively packaged in plastic, and disposable coffee cups are an egregious source of waste. Convincing your co-workers to bring their lunch to the office in a reusable lunch box will not only force them to make healthier food choices, but it will cut down on wasteful packaging. Getting good tea and coffee facilities in your workplace can help reduce the number of disposable coffee cups used, but keep cups will eliminate them from your workplace entirely. If you always have a good cup on you, you’ll never opt for a flimsy disposable one.

If your office needs to rethink its environmental impact, it starts with you. Bring your suggestions to your co-workers, employees, and your employers alike. No step is too small - reducing waste and encouraging recycling will help build a more sustainable world for us all.

How You Can Minimize Your Office

Caitlyn Bell

Caitlyn Bell is an Arts student whose experiences in life make her really tougher than anyone else. She can lend you expert tips on diverse topics ranging from relationship to fashion, survival tips, making money, health and so on. Her write-ups are a window into her thoughts and knowledge.

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