Saving the environment has become more prevalent, with people wanting to make a difference both at home and at work. When you, as a company, take action, you are helping the environment and helping your employees make an impact. Here are some tips on how to become more eco-friendly.

1. Reduce paper usage

Do you really need to print everything out, or are you just used to simply printing out paper copies?  Why not switch over to email newsletters instead of actual paper mailings.  Try sharing a pdf with your team instead of handing out a printout. What about file-sharing options?  These are all good ways to reduce your paper usage.  Encourage your employees to think before hitting print, as they may be doing so out of habit.

2. Provide recycling bins

There are numerous items your employees could recycle if you offered them a way to do so, such as water bottles, soda cans, and plastic utensils. Make sure there is clear signage on the bin listing what they can and cannot place in it.  

3. Recycle all paper

If your company deals with sensitive data, have a shredding service come to your workplace on a regular basis and process it for you. Their trucks can shred the paper at the office to ensure sensitive data isn’t transported without first being shredded. 

Paper that ends up in landfills gives off methane gas as it deteriorates, which pollutes the environment. Producing recycled paper uses less energy than is used to make new paper. The recycling company RoadRunner reports that every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.  

4. Use motion sensors and timers for lights 

You can program the lights to turn off at a specific time after closing. For example, if the office closes at 5 pm, you can have the lights programmed to turn off at 7 pm to allow all employees to leave for the day. Motion sensors allow the lights to be out when a room is not in use. Think of all of the empty conference rooms or spare offices that are needlessly consuming electricity. This will also prevent lights from using power after hours, on weekends, and on holidays.  

5. Adopt a more business casual dress code

This means less dry cleaning for formal business attire, which results in less harmful chemicals in the air. By skipping trips to the dry cleaner, employees will also be producing less air pollutants from their vehicles. 

6. Use recycled printing paper

Recycled paper isn’t discoloured or low-quality like it was many years ago. You can find stark-white recycled paper that is of high quality. Choosing recycled paper helps reduce the number of trees that are chopped down to make new paper. By reducing the demand for new paper, you also help reduce air and water pollution created from the process.  

7. Eliminate personal trash cans at each desk

Instead of having a trash can at each desk, have one or two in central locations of the office. This will cut down on the plastic trash can liners that are thrown into landfills each day. Office cleaning services will often replace the liners each night, even if there is only one item in the trash. This is incredibly wasteful.

While it may seem like an inconvenience to your employees at first, they will eventually become accustomed to walking to the wastebasket. Not only will it help the environment, but it will also help them stand and move throughout the day instead of sitting for hours on end. 

8. Automate powering down 

Have your computers and printers set to shut down each night, instead of employees leaving them on. Even when not in use, if they aren’t powered down, they are still using what is known as phantom power. If you don’t have an IT department, you can use software to power down your computers.  

9. Sign up for an office composting service

Yes, you can compost at work. Place a compost bin in the kitchen for employees to place food scraps. You can also keep a compost bin by the coffee bar so employees can place coffee grounds and tea bags in it. Educate your employees on the purpose, impact, and what they can and cannot place in the bin. You can sign up with an office compost service that will come pick up your compost bins weekly or biweekly so that you don’t have to do any of the work. 

10. Recycle your electronic equipment 

E-waste (electronic waste) recycling services will recycle outdated and broken office equipment properly for you, such as

•  Fax machines

•  Printers

•  Phones

•  Routers

•  Laptops

•  Computer monitors

Don’t toss these items in the trash. If e-waste is not properly disposed of, harmful chemicals can leak into landfills and the air, harming the environment. 

11. Schedule your heat and air (HVAC) to prevent them from running 24/7 

When the workplace closes for the day, weekends, and holidays, have your thermostat programmed for less usage while the office is closed. There is no need to keep your office at 73 degrees when no one is in the building.  

Offices that follow the standard Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule are most likely closed for close to 100 days a year. Imagine the impact that adjusting thermostats and lighting can have. Having a business strategy in place for unoccupied periods can reduce wasted electricity and save your company money at the same time. 

Going green at the office doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, many of the tips listed above will result in money savings for the company. It will also ensure that our planet remains a nice place to live for generations to come.