The average person spends over 90,000 hours of their lives at work. So instead of focusing all of our sustainability efforts on just being greener at home, why don’t we go green in the office, too?
It’s really not that hard, and you probably already do some of these things- but what other #littlegreensteps can you take to go green in the office? Here are 15 things you should start doing to help save the earth at work.
1. Go digital!
Did you know that 45% of printouts end up in bins by the end of the day? And that over 6,800 pieces of paper are wasted in an average office every 24 hours? That’s a lot of paper. By thinking twice before we hit print, we can save literal football fields worth of paper from being wasted every second. The solution: send e-copies of documents and use online forms and file-sharing platforms instead of printing.
2. If you HAVE to print, print double-sided and on Environmentally-Friendly paper
Always make sure to set the office printer settings to print double-sided, and only buy paper that has 100% (or as close as possible!) post-consumer waste paper content. This maximizes every sheet of paper used and minimizes the use of virgin materials.
3. Update Mailing lists
Sounds too simple to be true, right? But think about it- you’re wasting an envelope, paper and a stamp each time you send it to someone who’s either not going to receive your letter or who’s just going to chuck it straight into the bin. So either update your mailing lists regularly, or even better, upgrade to online mailing systems.
4. Buy remanufactured ink cartridges
Re-manufactured ink cartridges are essentially professionally cleaned and refilled ink cartridges. They prevent the need for using new materials to create whole new cartridges from scratch. Better for the environment, and saves you some office supplies money too.
5. Save and re-use packaging materials
Reusing materials not only keeps them out of the waste stream but saves you money, too! It also prevents the need for new packaging to be made since the demand for it would be lessened. So save those cardboard boxes and packing peanuts for the next package!
6. Have a dedicated recycling area
One of the main reasons why things don’t get recycled is simply because they just aren’t collected correctly and sent to the right places. By setting up dedicated recycling areas in your office (like a box for paper and another for plastic bottles), you’ll help cultivate better habits in your co-workers, and save recyclables from going into landfills, too.
7. Grow office plants
Offsetting your carbon footprint is just as easy as keeping a low-maintenance office plant alive. It’ll not only help you clean the air, but it’ll also make you feel happier. Get yourself some Devil’s Ivy, Peace lilies or Snake plants to start you on your green office journey. Additionally, you can feed them your nutritious used coffee grounds to keep them thriving.
8. Set the A/C to 25 degrees
Singapore faces an interesting conundrum: It’s indoor spaces are always freezing cold. And not only is this terrible for energy consumption, but it’s also definitely not the optimum temperature to work at either. So turn up the heat and set those air-conditioners to 25 degrees or higher.
9. Telecommute to work at least once a week
Not having to drive or travel to work means not having a traavel carbon footprint for the day. Additionally, you’ll reduce your stress levels and be more productive, too. You can even use video-conferencing tools to check in for meetings.
10. Say no to screensavers
Switch off your electronics when not in use, and put your computers to sleep whenever you have to step away for a moment. Just like switching off the lights when you’re not using them, every little bit of electricity you save will add up.
11. BYO Reusable Plates, Containers, Cups and Cutlery
6 million tonnes of single-use disposables get thrown out every year. Think of how often you buy food back to the office, and all the single-use plastic you get along with it. Using your own containers, cups and cutlery will drastically reduce the amount of plastic that’ll be on the earth forever.
12. Plan out where and how much you’re going to eat
1.3 billion tonnes, or roughly, 1/3 of the food produced annually, is wasted. By portioning your food intake correctly, you’ll reduce the amount of waste you generate, and prevent perfectly edible food from rotting in the landfills.
13. Buy in bulk
Buying items (such as dry goods for the office pantry) in bulk is not only cheaper, it also uses less packaging and thus you’ll be creating less waste as a result. It’s as easy as that.
14. Buy pens that are refillable
How much of your office budget goes towards replacing the pens that are dry or that have been lost forever? Too much? Well, buying refillable pens (and refills) ensures that people will have to take more responsibility for their pens, and send fewer plastic bodies to their eternal graves on the earth.
15. Support local vendors!
The carbon emissions produced from flying in products from all over the world is ridiculously high- so why not shop local instead? You’ll have a cleaner, greener footprint while supporting your local communities. And if you don’t know where to find conscious vendors- why not have a look at our partners over here?
These are just 15 of the easiest ways you can make a big difference in the smallest of ways. You can learn even MORE ways to live consciously at our Conscious Festival coming up soon! We hope you’ll keep fighting the good fight because the world really needs you to.
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