Our planet is in a really bad ecological state, and things are only getting worse. Although this problem often seems overwhelming, and just too much for us to handle and do something about it as individuals, just the opposite is true. There are many ways in which each of us can contribute to the betterment of the environment.
The way we run our offices can make a huge difference. Here are just a few easy ways to go green in the office, especially when it comes to a more environmentally friendly usage of office equipment and paper, as well as strategies to save energy and water.
Smart Office Supplies
Research what are the best green office products that you need, ideally produced by companies near you, and stock them.
Reusable pens are definitely on the top of this list. Millions and millions of disposable pens are thrown away every day. Pens that can be refilled are a logical alternative.
On the other hand, if a specific product doesn’t have a green alternative, try to cut down on its use. Rubber bands would be a good example of such a product. A good way to do this would be to have supervision over the office supply cabinet. This will make sure that wastefulness is reduced to a minimum.
Whenever it’s possible, buy products that are made from recycled material.
Make sure to turn off all your computers and other electronic equipment, when they are not being used. Simply setting them to go into standby mode is not enough, unfortunately. In fact, most of the office power is spent by machines while they are in standby mode!
There is a lot of software that can help you with this, and that can be used to automatically power down all of your equipment when it’s not being used.
Likewise, turn the light off in unused rooms. There is no point in having the light always on in rooms such as the washroom, for example. Of course, this can also be done automatically, with motion sensors, which is an additional expense, but one worth considering.
In addition to that, make sure to replace all of your incandescent bulbs with LED alternatives or CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs). This way your lighting setup can save up to 75% of energy while providing you with the same light output.
Of course, whenever you can, you should use natural light: open the blinds and let the daylight in. This is of enormous importance, as artificial lighting takes up to 40% of all electricity consumption in a typical office.
While most offices should be turning towards a paperless alternative, there are still many companies and businesses that require the use of printed documents. In these instances, you should look at implementing the use of recycled paper. But there are also ways to drastically cut down the usage of paper in general.
Consider purchasing a printer that can print on both sides, and has energy-saving features. If you can, re-fill used ink and toner cartridges, if not, recycle them.
Fortunately, calculating your printing expenses isn’t too difficult, and once you’ve done so you can properly implement those saving strategies across the board. The general idea is that you only print when it’s absolutely necessary. Instead of printing, send memos by email, share files through the cloud and use power-point instead of printing out agendas for meetings.
Additionally, a simple trick as using a smaller font size can significantly reduce the amount of paper used by your office.
If your office still has old-style toilets that use gallons and gallons of water per every flush, you should really consider replacing them with newer models that are far more efficient. Alternatively, you can use this method: fill up a plastic bottle with sand and place it in the tank, or just use a brick in the same way. By displacing the water inside the tank, when it fills up after a flush, it will stop sooner and use less water. This is a very simple and effective way to get a greener washroom and reduce your water consumption.
Also, make sure to inspect and fix all of your continually running toilets and install taps with low-flow faucet aerators. Make sure you always turn off your taps completely, or even better, install motion sensor faucets.
Following all of these tips will lead to an enormous reduction in water consumption, as toilet flushing is the largest water consumer in offices, and just one leaking tap can waste more than 5 gallons of water every day.
These were just a few ways to make your office more environmentally friendly. Using less water, conserving energy, and paper, as well as recycling office supplies and therefore producing less waste, are basic ideas that every modern business, big or small, should consider.
But there are many more to consider. Research them all, and if possible have a person or a “green team” at the office, that is designated to researching and implementing such strategies.