How to make your Office Eco-Friendly
There are numerous ways for how you can make your office more eco-friendly. Independent if you are working from home or in an office with a big team, this article addresses all measures you can take to improve your ecological footprint in your office and therefore to ensure a livable future for the next generations.
35 easy ways to make your office more eco-friendly
- Use recycled paper
- Environmentally-friendly computers
- Eco-friendly computer equipment
- Eco-friendly printers
- Two-sided printing
- Eco-responsible smartphones
- Use electronic media instead of printouts
- Use plants for decoration purposes
- Eco-friendly cleaning products
- Install energy-efficient devices
- Replace old windows
- Choose green over conventional energy
- Avoid disposable plastic cups
- Environmental challenges in the office
- Form a “green team”
- LED lights
- Turn off the lights
- Motion-activated lights
- Use natural light whenever possible
- Green commuting or home office
- Reduce air conditioning and heating
- Avoid the use of paper towels
- Unplug your devices
- Eco-friendly power strips
- Avoid bottled water
- Use long-lasting silverware instead of disposable cutlery
- Compostable party plates instead of plastic ones
- Use eco-friendly sponges instead of conventional ones
- Assure waste separation
- Use stand-by mode for your electronic devices
- Avoid leaky faucets
- Improve recycling processes
- Business cards from sustainable materials
- Remove barriers for green commuting
- Educate yourself and raise the awareness of your colleagues
Use recycled paper
One simple way to make your office greener is to just use recycled paper instead of conventional paper. Recycled paper can also have high quality, but saves our natural resources since part of it can be reused.
Thus, the next time you order printing paper, make sure to buy recycled paper instead of conventional ones.
Although it may sound surprising to you, there is also a big difference regarding the eco-friendliness of computers. This difference mainly refers to the energy demand of the respective computer or laptop.
There are computers which consume far less energy than others. When it comes to buying decisions regarding computers, make sure to choose energy-efficient instead of energy-consuming ones.
Eco-friendly computer equipment
The energy issue not only applies to computers and laptops, it also applies to the equipment for those devices. For instance, make sure that your wireless mouse consumes low levels of energy to make your office eco-friendlier.
The same is true for all other computer equipment. Also make sure that only small fractions or even no plastic at all are used in the production process for those devices in order to improve your ecological footprint even further.
Printers can be another big source for the waste of energy and resources. Many printers use large amounts of energy. Moreover, some of them also use significantly more toner than others.
Thus, it is crucial that you be aware of those facts when you consider buying a new office printer. Please also make sure that you use toner refill companies instead of buying new ink cartridges every time it is empty.
Moreover, also make sure that you and your employees use the toner-saving mode whenever there is a need for printouts. Some printers have modes that can save up to 20% of toner while still achieving pretty good printing results.
In order to save paper and therefore also our natural resources, make sure to use two-sided printing every time one-sided printing is not urgently necessary. Be honest with yourself! Most of the time, there is no need to print one-sided!
Believe it or not, there are also eco-friendly smartphones on the market right now. Eco-friendly not only refers to saving energy, but also to the fact that there are companies which ensure the use of fair labor for the production of their smartphones.
By buying from those companies, you can support fair labor and also make a contribution to financially support poor people in third world countries.
Use electronic media instead of printouts
In our nowadays working environment, printouts become less and less important. Almost all presentations and meetings can be done with the help of electronic media. However, many companies still use plenty of printouts, which adds up to enormous levels of paper and ink waste.
Thus, it is crucial that you take a stand and fight to change the company’s mission and vision to a path where printouts are obsolete and considered to be dodgy.
By doing so, you can save our natural resources and also contribute to a greener attitude in your working environment.
Use plants for decoration purposes
Instead of using conventional decoration, you should rather rely on plants. Plants have the advantage that they are a renewable decoration source. In addition, they also improve the air quality of a room.
Thus, you can not only make your office greener by decorating with plants, you can also improve the air quality and thus the work efficiency of your employees.
Moreover, plants are usually quite cheap, which should make it even easier to decide in favor of plants and against synthetic decoration.
Eco-friendly cleaning products
Many cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to our environment and sometimes even also to human health. Thus, it can make sense to switch to eco-friendly cleaning products instead.
Since those environmentally-friendly detergents are not much more expensive compared to conventional ones, this should basically be a no-brainer for you!
Install energy-efficient devices
For all your electronic devices in your office, make sure to choose energy-efficient over energy-consuming ones. It is crucial that we save energy whenever possible in order to save our natural resources from depletion.
Replace old windows
If you still use old energy-inefficient windows, it might be time to replace them. Plenty of heat is lost due to energy-inefficient windows every year.
This is not only bad for our environment, but also for your wallet since energy will become even more expensive over time.
Thus, keep that in mind when it comes to the decision whether to replace your old windows or not.
Choose green over conventional energy
If you are in a leading position in your company, you could also suggest switching from conventional to renewable energy sources. This could come in the form that your company installs solar panels on the company’s roof in order to use solar power as a main power source.
By doing so, your company could generate its own electricity and become independent from official local energy supply. If you are not in a leading position, you could still talk to your boss about this topic. Maybe he will positively surprised and would fight for this idea together with you!
Avoid disposable plastic cups
In our nowadays office world, everyone seems to strive for a coffee-to-go. However, the use of disposable plastic cups is a quite big environmental issue. Worldwide, we use around 500 billion coffee cups each year.
Imagine the waste that results from this number! Thus, it is crucial that we change our minds and avoid disposable cups. Instead, you can bring your own mug which can be used multiple times in order to save waste and resources.
Environmental challenges in the office
In order to raise awareness on the topic of eco-friendliness, you could also introduce environmental challenges that have to be carried out every weak.
By doing so, your employees will become more aware of the environmental issues we currently face as humanity and are likely to behave more eco-friendly.
Form a “green team”
If you want to take the green attitude even further, you could also form a team of employees who take care of the eco-friendliness in your company.
This could mean that this team sets up certain events with green topics so that the importance of saving our planet would be implanted in your employees and colleagues’ heads.
Lighting is a big issue when it comes to saving energy. Although it would be quite easy to reduce the energy demand from lighting significantly, many companies still rely on old lights that consume plenty of energy.
If this is also the case in your office, make sure that your company replaces those old lights with LEDs or other energy-efficient lights. By doing so, you can not only improve your company’s ecological footprint, but also the overall spending on electricity.
Turn off the lights
You should also turn off the office lights whenever they are not urgently needed. If daylight is sufficient, just turn off your lights. By doing so, you can reduce the unnecessary consumption of energy.
Instead of manually turning off lights, you can also use motion-activated lights in rooms that are less frequently used.
For instance, installing those lights in the printing room may save plenty of energy since the light is only switched on when people actually need it.
Thus, this will make your office much more energy-efficient, which improves your eco-footprint and also saves you or your company money at the same time.
Use natural light whenever possible
People often also use lighting quite inefficiently. For instance, some people even close the curtains but use office lights at the same time.
Make sure that you use natural sunlight instead of office lights as often as possible in order to reduce electricity demand.
Apart from the positive effect on our environment, you can also save significant amounts of money by doing so.
Green commuting or home office
Green commuting refers to going to work by using eco-friendly means of transport. This includes the use of bicycles or also walking instead of using your car. By using green commuting methods, you can improve your ecological footprint and also save money.
To take it even further, you could also work from home instead of commuting to your workplace at all. Talk to your boss if this is possible. Many companies will give you the opportunity for home office, at least for some days of the week.
Reduce air conditioning and heating
People often have quite extreme attitudes when it comes to heating and also to the use of air conditioning. This comes due to the fact that some people are quite sensitive to cold and heat while others are not. However, this often leads to a state where heating and air conditioning are excessively used in the office.
Reducing both air conditioning and heating would save plenty of energy and would also lead to a stable office climate, which would improve working conditions and therefore also work efficiency.
Avoid the use of paper towels
In many companies, paper towels are still used. However, this implies the production of large amounts of paper waste every day. Instead of using paper towels, you can introduce the use of hand dryers.
Although these dryers need energy to work, the advantage of saving plenty of paper often outweighs the downsides of electricity use from an eco-standpoint.
Unplug your devices
Whenever you don’t use your electronic devices, especially when you leave your office, unplug your devices in order to save energy. Although not known by many people, your devices will still use energy even if you don’t use them if these devices are not unplugged.
Thus, before you leave the office, make sure to unplug all your electronic devices in order to improve your ecological footprint.
Eco-friendly power strips
A good alternative to manually unplugging your devices would be to use smart power strips instead of conventional ones. These power strips recognize if you use your electronic devices or not and therefore release energy only if you use your devices.
This also implies that you can save plenty of energy using those devices since at nighttime, smart energy strips will simply cut the power supply for your devices and save you money.
Avoid bottled water
Bottled water is often used in our society. However, the use of bottled water, especially plastic bottled water, implies enormous levels of plastic pollution on a global scale. In many regions, it is even unnecessary to use bottled water at all since the tap water quality is actually quite good.
Thus, if you live in those regions, you could drink tap water instead of bottled water in your office. You could also install or apply for water automats for your office.
By using those devices and by refraining from using bottled water, you could save enormous amounts of plastic waste in your office.
Use long-lasting silverware instead of disposable cutlery
Some offices are still not equipped with quality durable silverware. For those companies, it is crucial to adjust in an eco-friendly manner and to use silverware made out of metals instead of plastic cutlery.
This could decrease the plastic waste issue and also save our natural resources. Thus, make sure to propose these changes if your company hasn’t already taken action on this issue.
Compostable party plates instead of plastic ones
If you still want to use single-use party plates or cutlery for certain occasions in your office, at least make sure that you use compostable versions instead of plastic ones.
By doing so, you can avoid the production of plastic waste since compostable plates are much easier to decompose in an eco-friendly manner.
Use eco-friendly sponges instead of conventional ones
The use of conventional sponges seems to be a rather small environmental issue. However, due to the sheer number of sponges that are used every day, especially in big companies, it is crucial to replace conventional sponges with eco-friendly versions. By doing so, your company can improve its ecological footprint even further.
Replacing conventional sponges with eco-friendly ones should not be a big deal at all since they usually are not much more costly. Thus, in company terms, it should be a no-brainer to switch to eco-friendly sponges in your office.
Assure waste separation
Even though it should be obvious in our nowadays society where everyone talks about saving our planet and saving resources that you separate waste in your office in an efficient manner.
However, in many companies, there are still no or only insufficient waste separation efforts. You should provide your employees with the knowledge to separate their office waste efficiently.
Moreover, you should provide enough different trash bins to recycle all office materials correctly. This is especially important for electronic waste, since it often contains plenty of precious materials that can be recycled and reused.
Use stand-by mode for your electronic devices
Whenever you don’t use your electronic devices, make sure that you use the stand-by mode in order to save energy. For many devices like computers, you can set a specific timeframe after which the standby mode will be activated.
The shorter this timespan, the earlier your computer will switch to the standby mode and the more energy you can save. Thus, make sure to install the standby mode for your devices in an efficient manner.
Avoid leaky faucets
Whenever you see a leaky faucet, you should call the facility manager or try to fix this faucet instead. Large amounts of water are lost every year due to leaky faucets since people often do not care or simply have too many other things to do.
Don’t be one of them! Instead, take action to save water and therefore our precious natural resources. If your faucet is quite old and leaking due to its age, buy a new one and install it.
Improve recycling processes
You should also try to improve your recycling processes in your office. Many companies are still not aware of how important recycling really is in order to use our natural resources in an efficient manner.
If you have a leading role in your company, try to make recycling an important topic in the company values so every employee acts eco-friendly.
Business cards from sustainable materials
Although business cards lost popularity due to the increasing use of electronic media, they can still be an important gadget to acquire customers and strengthen the trust between customers and employees.
However, the production of business cards usually contributes to deforestation, which in turn causes several other environmental issues.
Thus, if you still want to use business cards in our current times, at least make sure that you buy eco-friendly versions instead of conventional ones.
Remove barriers for green commuting
For your office, you should also consider removing any barriers that could prevent people from commuting by bicycle or other green means of transport. For instance, this could mean that you install bicycle stands for your employees.
It could also mean that you financially support your employees if they commute in a green way instead of using their cars. By doing so, the incentive for your employees to use alternative means of transport increases significantly.
Educate yourself and raise the awareness of your colleagues
In general, it is crucial that we all raise awareness of our environmental problems and on how important it is to make all parts of our daily life greener, including our office life.
Thus, whenever you see people using disposable plastic cups or other things that you destroy our planet, try to speak up and convince them about the importance to refrain from such kind of behavior.
Also show them easy alternatives so that these people behave in a more eco-friendly manner in the future.
There are many ways how you can make your office more eco-friendly. However, it is on you if you are willing to take the steps that are necessary in order to improve your ecological footprint and to ensure a livable future for the next generations.
When it comes to buying decisions regarding eco-friendly products, always take into account the long-term benefits and costs in order to make profound buying decisions.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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