Changing our habits at home is the first step in lowering our carbon footprints but a lot of us spend most of our time at work. Implementing a few simple changes at work can be really effective in reducing your business’ impact on the environment.
Here is a list of initiatives that are really easily implemented and can make a real difference in how sustainable a workplace is (it also tends to save money so everyone wins):
Switching to a green energy tariff is the easiest and fastest way to significantly reduce your company carbon footprint. These tariffs are now also very competitive so you could end up saving money as well as the planet.
Turn off your computer when you leave as well as lights, heating / aircon 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.
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 at the practice may encourage your staff to increase active travel. Consider offering incentives such as prizes e.g. a pedometer, sportswear or gym/sports class memberships.
- Promote the use of mugs, glasses, dishes and BYO rather than disposables.
- Cut down on bottled water by providing filtered water in reusable glass bottles.
- Consider switching to glass bottle milk rather than plastic.
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 (kettles are one of the most power hungry device in a kitchen).
Most cleaning products contain a lot of harmful chemical. 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 switching 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 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 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, 0 waste day or a general leader board by department of lowest energy se or waste production as well as biggest drop ). Disseminate info on the intranet or noticeboards.