13 Ecology Ablazingly

Tips for an Eco-friendly Office and Sustainable Workplace

eco-friendly office

It seems like everyone is looking to make their workplace more eco-friendly these days and there are compelling reasons why you should. Making sure that the work environment is clean and green is an easy way to improve employee morale and happier employees are more productive. That will have a direct effect on your bottom line that you should not ignore.

Do not feel like you have to do everything at once. It is perfectly acceptable to take baby steps to a greener overall business plan. Meanwhile, there are several things that you can do immediately to get the ball rolling.

I often feel guilty that I do not do enough to help the environment. I am not great with things at home, but I know that when I have worked in offices, they have been much worse. Even the temporary census office in which I worked was terrible.

Turn Off Lights

When I worked for the census, every light in every room was on when I was in that building. This was true even when the rooms were not being used. I would have turned off lights if I were allowed to turn them off, but doing that got me in trouble. Sadly, I left lights on that did not need to be left on.

turning office lights off to save energy


Encourage the Company to Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

I had no way to encourage the type of light bulbs used. In fact, I had no way to encourage anybody at that place. If I did, this probably would have been better than many of the lights that were being used.

Use Sustainable Paper

Start by researching the company that supplies all the paper products for your business. They should deal only with recognized forest certification programs and they should not be shy to prove that they do so. Buy paper that is manufactured from post-consumer recycled content. The higher the amount of recycled product that is present in the paper, the better.

Turn the Office Computers Off 

There were tons of computers used at the census. Every computer was on from the time the office opened until the time it closed, if not even later. They would often not have any screen saver or sleep screen, either. Of course, the information was not on the screen, but the computers stayed on with a user name and password screen showing the whole time.

turning computer off to save power in an office

Print on Both Sides of the Paper

Tons of paper was wasted while I worked at the census. I hated what I saw and wished they would have used both sides of paper for printing. However, once again, I did not have any influence at that place.

Use Ecofont

I had never heard of special fonts before. However, this exists. Ecofont was created by a Dutch communications agency. It uses less ink as the font is filled with little inkless dots that do not show when small text is printed. The text is inspired by Swiss cheese because of the holes. This helps to save ink when printing. Download Ecofont from the company website. After reading about it, I saw a text on a screen that looked like it used the font in large letters.

business woman using eco-friendly ink and recycled paper

Use Eco-friendly Ink

If your company relies on printed materials like promotional flyers or cards, choose a printer that uses only vegetable-based inks. Growing and harvesting soy beans does not require a lot of energy and the plants themselves have been shown to eliminate greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Paper that has been printed with soy ink is also easier to recycle.

Distribute Memos and Manuals Online

There was a huge binder of information that the census sent out with every employee. At least most of the pages were printed on both sides. However, if these thing were digitally distributed, they would have used less paper. There was no confidential information in them, so it shouldn’t have mattered about others reading the manuals.

You can eliminate as much paper from the work place as possible by going electronic whenever possible. Instead of circulating printed memos, take it to e-mail. Not only is it quicker and more convenient, but there will be one less piece of paper to throw away at the end of the day. If you still solicit customers with printed marketing materials, consider building an e-mail list instead. Let your customers know that you are going high tech in the interest of keeping the environment clean.

Setup and Office Recycle Program

Every day that I worked for the census, I saw tons of paper being dumped in trash cans. I was sad about this. I wished they had gone with some type or recycling company to pick up the trash. They could even shred confidential materials.

Go Low Flow

Being that the census office was in a rented space, choosing the types of faucets used was not an option. However, if for some reason, I ever have an office or can influence an office, I will tell them to go low flow. Low flow toilets can help your office save a lot of water throughout the year. 

Use Reusable Dishes

I have sometimes fallen into the bad habit of using paper plates at places. However, there are times I try to remember to bring a reusable plate, bowl, cup, and flatware with me that I can wash. I have thought about putting these items into a backpack to take along with me to places that I go so I can easily have them on hand. They can be washed in the bathroom, even though hand soap is not specifically made to wash dishes, it can be used to wash them.

Final Thoughts

Going green is not only a good thing to do, it is the right thing to do. With proper implementation you can create a more productive work environment and do a good deed for the environment all at the same time.

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