Green Tips: Going Green in the Workplace
Green Tips | February 20, 2020
Going green can be done in all areas of life—even the workplace. For most people, one-third of our time is spent at work. In that case, creating eco-friendly habits in the workplace is an important step toward lowering one’s environmental impact. Here are our tips for creating more eco-friendly practices at work:
- Offices are hubs for paper use and printing. The average employee working in an office uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. To decrease the amount of printing, share documents with the people you do work with via email, and if you must print, make it double-sided. Increase the lifespan of that printed paper before sending it to the recycling bin by using it as scrap paper to jot down notes. Ensure your office has a paper recycling bin, and that the paper is getting recycled. If your office is in a shared building, contact your building management for more information about recycling practices.
- Not all paper is created equal. Commonly, paper pulp is brightened using chlorine, which creates a waste byproduct called dioxin. Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical that has been shown to cause cancer and reproductive issues. Look for paper that is labeled totally chlorine-free (TCF) or process chlorine-free (PCF), which means the paper mill did not use chlorine in the papermaking process.
Reusable vs. Disposable Containers
Whenever possible, choose reusable options instead of disposable. If your workplace has a kitchen area, invest in silverware, and reusable cups, mugs, plates, bowls, etc. Washing dishes and cutlery is worth reducing the waste generated in your office.
Bringing lunch from home in reusable containers also helps decrease the waste generated from single-use packaging in take-out meals. If purchasing delivery or take-out food, ask the establishment to skip the cutlery and use silverware from your office. Some food establishments have programs in which you can bring your own reusable mug, cup, or container (and may even provide a discount for participating). If you’re not aware of opportunities to reduce single-use products, always ask. Most of the time, businesses are willing to work with you.
Around the Office
- Spending one-third of your life at work means there’s less time spent out in nature (at least if you work in an office). Don’t fret: bring nature indoors by adding plants to your office space! A greener work environment can boost creativity by 15%, which is even more reason to add plants to your space.
- When office furniture is nearing the end of its life, consider donating it instead of throwing it in the trash.
- Idle electronics across the country consume the power output of 12 power plants annually. Unplugging your devices before leaving the office will help lower greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production, which accounts for 37% of emissions in the United States. Rather than unplugging multiple wires, plug all your devices into a power strip, and remove the power strip from its energy source before heading out.
- There are many ways to make greener choices in regards to office lighting. If it’s a sunny day, open the blinds and use natural light. Consider installing motion sensor lights that turn on with movement. One simple solution is to install energy-efficient light bulbs such as CFLs or LEDs that use 80% less energy than traditional lighting.
We hope these tips inspire you to bring sustainable practices to your office!< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
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