Changing our habits at home is the first step in lowering our carbon footprints but lots of us spend most of our time at work.
Implementing a few simple changes can help you get greener at work. It’s really effective in reducing your business’s impact on the environment and reducing costs too.
There’s nothing like having the support of your colleagues with a meeting, proposal or work project. See our tips for a greener workplace below.
Together, you could achieve real change in your workplace.
Get greener at work with training
Getting greener at work couldn’t be simpler with our Carbon Literacy training for you and your team. Packed full of useful insights it will help you become greener and cleaner – with the support of your colleagues and workforce.
Not just the tips given here, but a tailored, wider consideration of your specific workplace and routines.
“I came away feeling more equipped and starting to make changes in my life.” Becky Hughes, Carbon Literacy participant
Learn about climate change and what you can do about it with your business in a completely new way. Group and charity discounts are available. Enquire today.
Get greener at work with these simple changes
Switching to a green energy tariff is the easiest and fastest way to significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
Check the credentials of your preferred browser. Ecosia for example will plant trees for every amount of searches you make with their browser.
Instead of leaving it on standby, turn off your computer when you leave for the day, as well as lights, heating or aircon; particularly if you’re the last one in the office.
Switch off lights in unused meeting rooms and corridors where possible. If budget allows, consider sensor activated lights which are sure to not only help save power but are also sure to reduce power costs in the long-run. LED light bulbs are more energy efficient than traditional bulbs too.
Only print when you need to. So many printed documents are not necessary, especially inter-office memos and documents, which you can send electronically. If you must print, print double sided on recycled paper. Rather than print notices and agendas, you can use whiteboards or overhead projectors to display them. Pull-printing can also really help cut down on documents left uncollected in printers.
Signing up to the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme (to enable staff to buy a bike tax-free) as well as hosting activities or cycling and walking events may encourage your staff to increase active travel. Consider offering incentives such as prizes e.g. a pedometer, sportswear or gym/sports class memberships.
Out and about
If your office or workers are far more mobile, Commercial Fleet offers a calculator where you can measure the Carbon (CO2) emissions of your fleet. You may be able to consider the type of vehicle used, the type of transport in the future, or a carbon off-set scheme.
- Promote the use of mugs, glasses, dishes, cutlery and Bring Your Own (BYO) rather than disposables.
- Cut down on bottled water by providing filtered water in reusable glass bottles and encouraging staff to refill reusable water bottles of their own.
- Consider switching to glass bottled milk rather than plastic.
Taking a packed lunch, not only cuts down on your use of single use plastic but saves you money too. Rather than standing in long busy queues to buy a take away lunch, you can use your lunch break for what you want to do. Life admin, reading a book, listening to another podcast, talking a walk. You and your colleagues could share an ideas board of good books, walks near your workplace and podcasts you’ve listened to.
The take away coffee is often a welcome luxury for most commuters. Made from mixed materials, take away cups are not easily recycled or often not recycled at all. Taking a refill cup to your favourite coffee shop dramatically cuts down on single use plastic and some chains offer a discount for doing so.
Boil the kettle enough for those who need it. Don’t boil the maximum just in case someone else wants a cuppa. Faster, better for the environment and cheaper askettles are one of the most power hungry devices in a kitchen.
Sustainably sourced tea and coffee, including tea bags that don’t contain plastic and recycled paper for the printer, paper tape rather than sellotape are some simple swaps you can make. Check over other commonly bought items, such as stationary to see if there are refill schemes, more sustainably sourced items, alternatives to plastic or other options available.
Most cleaning products contain a lot of harmful chemicals. Switch to eco-friendly products or cleaning alternatives such as steaming to help the environment. For example, did you know that most of the washing up and dishwasher products on the market have a disclaimer at the back stating “Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects.” Eco-friendly washing up liquid / dishwasher tablets are now abundant on the market, making the switch very easy.
Have a recycling bin in the office, or better still give everyone a recycling box on their desk and only one rubbish bin placed in a communal area.
A lot of people have lunch ‘al-desko’ or in communal kitchens. Providing a food composting service makes a really big difference and is generally cheaper to dispose of than general waste (as well as reducing methane emissions). And if you have coffee grinds waste, pick up some recycled paper bags or tell your colleagues to Bring Your Own (BYO) container to take them home for use in the garden compost. Everyone’s a winner!
Plants are not only green and create a nice atmosphere, they also improve air quality.
Promote green initiatives, report on progress and introduce green challenges for employees (such as active travel to work day; find a carpool buddy; zero waste day; or a general leader board by department of lowest energy use or waste production as well as biggest drop). Disseminate information on the intranet or noticeboards.
How are your suppliers doing with their environmental impact? Look for their impact reports. Do they offset their carbon footprint? Are they a certified B Corp?
Reducing waste and items in landfill are key to reducing carbon emissions. If there are items of office furniture no longer needed offer these in local groups (such as local Facebook groups) other small businesses or charities may be in need and not able to purchase equipment they need. Look for office furniture collections in your area.