A few years down the lane it seemed like the world’s resources were infinite, and people needed only to access them to create businesses and grow humanity. Today, we know how false that is. We now know that rather than finding ways to exploit new resources, people and companies need to focus on finding sustainable ways to grow, while protecting the planet and the resources we have left. For every company that spills millions of allons of oil into the oceans, there are plenty more companies operating under this new ethos to protect the environment. The effort to “go green” has been felt across industries, as companies are beginning to realize how their operations impact the environment. From using recycled or renewable resources to reducing energy consumption and waste, there seems to be a universal effort by businesses and consumers to protect our planet and do what we can to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
The team believes that the “Three R’s” of being environmentally friendly that we grew up with has evolved into “Five R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Now, Repair and Rethink. Taking all five R’s into consideration — especially the rethinking part — here are few easy ways to go green in the office, and often save money in the process.
1. Stock Reusable Pens
2. Go Digital Eliminate Waste in Printing
3. Buy Environmentally Friendly Paper
4. Update Mailing Lists: This is a small but effective tip; by ensuring your mailing lists are up to date, you avoid sending out unnecessary letters, thus saving the paper, printing, and postage.
5. Photocopier and Printer Settings: Ensure the photocopier and printer defaults back to single copies after somebody has used it. You may also want to set them to print double-sided by default. Use the draft printing mode whenever possible (which is more than you think), and avoid colour printing.
6. Use Smaller Font: Although you don't want to make your employees blind, reducing the font size in documents can save reams of paper each week.
7. Power Down: Would you believe that the majority of office power is consumed by machines that are off, but still plugged into a live outlet? Standby power (or phantom power) is a huge — and hugely unnecessary — environmental culprit and expense.
8. Eliminate Screen Savers: Set a company policy that disallows the use of screen savers. Instead, set monitors to power off after the same amount of time; it’s just as easy.
9. Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last about 10 times longer. So you’ll save on energy costs, replacement bulb costs, and reduce waste by using them. They come in all sizes and wattages, and offer soft sheens that aren’t as garishly fluorescent as their previous counterparts. No conversion of equipment is necessary; any light that uses an incandescent bulb can immediately take a compact fluorescent bulb.
10. Buy LED Lamps: Once you’ve replaced your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, and maximized the daylight in your office, you may actually be able to reduce the number of desk lamps you have in the office. If you must buy new lighting though, consider LED lamps, which use even less power than compact fluorescent bulbs do.
11. Use Multi-Purpose Machines: Each piece of office equipment you buy produces heaps of toxic substances in both the manufacturing and disposal stages. So the fewer office machines you buy, the smaller your footprint will be. Consider using multi-purpose machines that handle copying, scanning, faxing, and printing, as well as other multi-tasking machines.
12. Eliminate Paper Towels
13. Buy in Bulk: Instead of buying individual packets of coffee, creamer, sugar, pepper, salt, jam, and other consumables, buy these items in bulk instead. Think creatively about using jars or dispensers for these items that make it easy — and sanitary — for all to use.
14. Use Green Cleaning Products: Environmentally friendly cleaning products protect the health of not only your cleaning staff but also your employees, by eliminating harmful substances and odours from the office.
15. Go Green — Literally: Make your office literally green with plants! They absorb airborne pollutants (which are rampant with off-gassing office furniture), and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air.
16. Frequently have Employee Drive Less Program so that employee’s car pool, take public transportation, walk, or use any mode of transportation besides driving alone.