10 Top Ways to Be Greener in the Office

By Guest Blogger Laura Harrison
You’re already making green living a priority in your own home, so why not do the same in your workplace? After all, you’re in the office just as much as you are at home, so why not feel better about yourself by living your whole life in an environmentally friendly way. Green living at work is easy and can actually save your company money. Just a few simple changes in your everyday routine such as choosing reusable over disposable and conservation over immediate convenience will make a world of difference.

1.       Turn the power off

When you’re not in the room, don’t forget to turn the lights off. Use energy- saver settings on electronics and make the conscious effort to switch that computer and printer off at the end of the day. Replace your light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

Turning off the computer, can save around $15 per year.  Okay, I know what you’re thinking; $15 is nothing! But an office with lots of computers, means your company could save a lot of money.

2.       Packaging

Use environmentally-friendly packaging. Purchase envelopes and packaging products such as environmentally friendly mailing bags from green living companies. Recycle any unwanted packaging or consider reusing boxes and padded envelopes. Place clearly labelled recycling bins around the office to encourage everyone to be just as environmentally friendly as you are.

3.       Air-conditioning/ heating

So it’s a hot day in the office and the sun is actually shining for once. Before ramping up the air conditioner, try opening the windows and letting in some of the fresh air – it’s a great way to clear your mind on a stressful day.  If it gets too hot, put the air conditioner on for short periods of time. If it’s cold outside, put an extra sweater on and keep the heating consistent at a lower temperature.

4.       Be paper friendly

Think before you ink! Ask yourself; do I really need to print that email? Instead, archive and save your emails. Recycle unwanted paper – if you print something that you realise you don’t need, then keep the paper, it might come in handy for rough notes.

Are you looking at your screen with lots of post-it notes on it? Thought so. Instead of using paper notes, try using the post-it note icon on your computer desktop. It does the same job, and means you actually see your monitor!

5.       Eco- friendly transportation.

Instead of leaving that gym bag in the trunk of your car, fit exercise into your daily commute to work. Walk if work is close enough or hop on your bike. If your workplace is too far away, get to work by public transport such as bus or train. If none of these are possible and a car is the only way you can get to work then carpool. After all, it will mean you can catch up on all the latest office gossip. All of these options are a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Did you know that travelling with others enables you to reduce your transport costs by up to $1500 a year?

 6. Green your space

Use pot plants to filter your indoor air and reduce stress. Plants are able to process volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can filter up to 60% of airborne pollutants while adding aesthetic appeal. Have your indoor air tested to ensure that your buildings are healthy. You can minimize VOCs by using green living products and natural cleaners in your office.

7. Green your lunch

Pack your own lunch in plastic containers rather than disposable bags. Source your food locally and opt for fresh goodies rather than processed foods. This is cheaper and healthier for you and better for the environment.

8. Green your java

Get your office to switch to fair trade coffee and tea products. Avoid using the coffee machines with the small tubs of coffee (like Keurig) as these use tons of energy and create waste.

9. Stay at home

Wherever possible, work from home to save on your commuting carbon footprint. Organize teleconferences to save on traveling and when you must travel, stay at eco-friendly hotels, take the train instead of flying and combine business trips.

10. Reuse and recycle

Use reconditioned equipment and furniture wherever possible. You can have a great retro 1960s office that makes you feel Madmen chic instead of buying new items. When you are done with equipment or furniture, donate it to charity or to organizations that recycle items responsibly.

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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