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5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Office More Sustainable

July 8, 2019

By Lori Melton

Most people work a minimum of 40 hours per week at a full-time job. Subtracting 80 hours (two weeks) of vacation means an employee spends about 2,000 hours a year at work. Given all our time in the office, it’s just as important to commit to “going green” on the job as it is at home.

Like any new effort, it takes a while before eco-conscious actions become routine. In the end, though, protecting the planet is worth it. Check out these five things you can start doing right now to make your office more sustainable.

Reduce Printing or Go Paperless

In today’s digital world, going paperless at the office is easier than ever. Communicating with coworkers and clients via email and apps like Slack or Asana, as well as sharing Google docs, storing information on the cloud, and sending and receiving electronic statements, decreases the need to jam filing cabinets full of paper documents. 

Furthermore, if documents do require printing, set the printer on the two-sided printing option. Both eco-friendly efforts reduce wasted paper and help save trees.

Set Up a Recycling Station

Recycling helps reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills. Getting into the habit of sorting recyclables at the office is easier if you set up a recycling station. You can get bins from your local recycling center or use boxes labeled for plastics, aluminum, and paper. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a helpful infographic on common recyclable items. Also, be sure to check out the weekly pickup schedule for your worksite, so your collections can go for processing.

Implement a Work-at-Home Schedule

Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, a study by the International Workplace Group (IWG) shows 70% of global employees work somewhere other than the office at least once a week.

If possible, build at least one day into the work week to work at home. Implementing a flexible schedule can help team members decrease childcare expenses, cut fuel usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions they create during a daily commute in a car. Plus, if fewer people are physically working in the office on a given day, workplace electric and energy usage is also reduced.

Power Down and Unplug

Powering down computers, copiers, and printers, when you’re not using them saves energy. Also, unplugging small appliances like a coffeemaker or toaster oven in the break room every night before leaving cuts power usage. If several pieces of office equipment are located close together, plugging them into a power strip and then turning it off each night simplifies the process. Overall, powering down and unplugging electronics will also help cut the office utility bill.

Bring a Little Outside in with Some Office Plants

Staring at drab cubicle walls can make work seem monotonous. Therefore, bringing in some office plants can brighten up the environment and green up any size space. There are several low-light, low-maintenance plants that thrive indoors. Some popular no-fuss options include English Ivy, Snake Plant, Pothos, Maidenhair Fern, Philodendron, and more. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the air and provide a nice natural balance to a modern business setting.