This year, Earth Day celebrated its 50th birthday. And while much has changed since it was first celebrated in 1970 (for example, we now have the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act), there is still much to be done to preserve the earth for generations to come.
In recent years, businesses have stepped up to that challenge, turning their offices green and making sure their business practices follow. If you’re looking for ways to join the eco-friendly movement in your office, read on to get tips for making your business green. It’s a great time to initiate new, green strategies if you’re planning on returning to your office after the recent stay-at-home regulations have relaxed.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce paper use by implementing rules like business-only printing, maximum paper use per day and double-sided printing only. Expand your reduction efforts by encouraging clients to sign up for paperless billing. Look into hybrid e-signing if you don’t have it already and consider digital media strategies for marketing your business. That may include social media, expanding your company website, email, blogging and digital banner ads.
Reduce plastic bottle and paper cup waste by providing team members with reusable bottles and coffee mugs. Take it one step further by installing water refill stations and using coffee pots instead of one-time use pods.
Reuse materials by donating old computers, office supplies, desks and other office furniture. When it’s time to redecorate the office or furnish it, purchase repurposed materials, which also provide a unique and trendy design aesthetic. When it comes to printing, use reusable ink cartridges and print on recycled paper products.
Encourage recycling habits by making it easy to recycle. Strategically place recycling bins for paper and cans around the office within walking distance of desks and in your printing room and kitchen.
Natural cleaning products use nontoxic ingredients that won’t release toxic chemicals into the air or allow them to seep into groundwater. As a bonus, these products contain fewer allergens and are easier on sensitive skin. Many of these products come in eco-friendly packaging as well.
Cut Down On Air Pollution
Offer incentives for employees to take different modes of transportation to work, including carpools, public transportation, biking or walking. Cut down on pollution from commuting even more by offering work-from-home days a few days per week. If your business has successfully worked through stay-at-home orders, you know remote work can be done efficiently.
Lower Energy Use
A few quick improvements around the office can lower the amount of energy you use each day and can even save your business money in the long run.
To save on electricity, switch out any incandescent bulbs with LEDs instead. These popular bulbs are more energy-efficient, emit brighter light and last about 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You should also use natural light whenever possible. If you have any old appliances in the office kitchen, replace them with certified energy-efficient ones, which will significantly reduce your electricity use.
To save on heat, fix any drafts with weather stripping, door sweeps, window film and insulated curtains. If you have hardwood or concrete floors in your office, consider laying down some area rugs or full carpeting. You’ll also want to have the office HVAC serviced. A clean, well-maintained system won’t have to work twice as hard to heat or cool the office.
Integrate Green Living Into Your Culture
The changes you make to help your business become greener will all be in vain if your team members aren’t on board. Change everyone’s mindset by implementing green living into your company culture. Talk about it at meetings, provide updates on how the business is reducing waste or saving energy, and allow team members to share ideas on other ways to be eco-friendly inside and outside the office. Create incentives, make it fun and incorporate it into your business philosophy and brand.