In today’s world of consistent climate change, workplaces are often an opportunity for employees to create environmentally friendly change and reduce workplace waste. Here are 9 tips to get started on a greener office.
Paper is one of the biggest wastes in the workplace. Even in the ever-evolving technological world, paper use is on the decline, yet it still takes up a large percentage of workplace waste. If you do use paper in your office, make sure you recycle. If there are options to exchange paper for electronic solutions, consider making that change. When you do need to print, print double-sided to save paper. Make sure you’re aware of what and how much you’re using. And, take the opportunity to reuse old printed paper as scratch paper or by shredding it for use as packing material.
Recycling can make a large change in your workplace waste. Studies show that in the United States, about 89% of recycled plastic ends up in the landfill. Despite that, recycling is still beneficial. Get rid of that wastebasket underneath your desk and swap it for a plastic bin and a paper bin. By getting rid of the ease of the trash can, your waste automatically decreases.
3. The Lunch Break
Whether you’re ordering in or bringing your own lunch, swap the plastic containers for recyclable or reusable materials. Let the restaurant know that you don’t need plastic cutlery. Instead of a plastic straw, try bringing your own metal straw. Even better, stock your workplace with reusable mugs, plates, cutlery, and straws. Taking care of those reusable items isn’t always fun, but make sure you’re doing your part and cleaning up your own dishes.
4. Know What You’re Using
There are a lot of options out there for sustainable alternatives to your typical plastic cutlery and dishware. Paper is still a great source of waste, and contributes to climate change with the process of making paper and paper items. However, depending on the coating of the paper product, most are still biodegradable. The word “compostable” might jump off the page, making you think this is the perfect solution. In fact, compostable items mostly go straight to the landfill. And, surprisingly, if the compostable items don’t go through a specific process, they actually won’t break down at all. The best option available on the market right now is biodegradable items. While the process is slow, they will eventually breakdown over time.
One of the biggest problems with waste in the workplace is convenience. Take away the K-Cup machine with the non-recyclable cups and the vending machine full of plastic bottles. Put the “out of sight, out of mind” rule to use. Getting rid of these conveniences will cut down waste automatically. Employees are rarely going to walk to the nearest convenience store to grab a soda. Plastics rose in the 1950s because of how accessible, cheap, and easy nearly everything had become. Put the only landfill-dedicated waste somewhere in the office that’s not an arm’s length away.
6. The Bathroom
Paper towels create a lot of waste. Unfortunately, they’re much more sanitary compared to hot air hand dryers. Hand dryers suck up bacteria and dispense approximately 250 colonies of bacteria within 30 seconds. The best option for human and planet health is using real, fabric, hand towels. These ideas might seem foreign and hard to manage, but in the modern office, these are great investments for a more climate change-focused and health-aware company.
7. Office Challenges
Try to have some fun with saving the planet. Create office challenges to help with community awareness and support each other with major lifestyle changes. Having a communal environment can be really encouraging. Have the entirety of the office set goals and challenge each other. Office challenges can be whatever you want them to be. A few suggestions are bringing your lunch from home in reusable containers, eating local food, eating vegan for a day, or not using any waste materials for an entire day.
Using a car is a large source of carbon emissions. Depending on your workplace and living situation, try other options of transportation. Can you walk, bike, use public transportation, or carpool? There’s usually an option to eliminate everyone driving to work every single day.
9. Do I Matter?
Yes, you do. If everyone cutdown on their carbon footprint one day a week, there would be a significant change. A lot of people think that they don’t seem to matter as they’re only one person. We are only one person, but collectively, we can create change on the state of our climate.
Connect with the industry’s most experienced team to learn more about reducing waste in your workplace!