10 Ways To Go Green In Your Office


Written by: Mary Best

Kermit summed it up well when he said: “It’s not easy being green.” Since it’s good for the earth and with Earth Day approaching (April 22nd), we came up with easy ideas to help with your green office efforts.

1. Lose the Paper Trail
More and more we’re moving away from using paper in the office, but you can take some steps to make the digital switch faster.  Set your default printing presets to print things double-sided. While you’re at it, you can get rid of your super long email signature that always prints on the second page. Additionally, you can buy recycled paper. If this seems a little expensive, you can save money by buying paper in bulk quantities.

2. Use Better Utensils
Plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Instead of the cheap plastic stuff, get your hands on some compostable plates and utensils. Or consider using a service like DishJoy that brings you clean dishes every day.

3. Watch Your Water
While we’re on the subject of plastic, ditch the plastic water bottles! Not only do they add to landfills, but a recent study indicates hundreds of tiny plastic particles are hanging out in that bottle of water you just drank. Invest in an office water system (we love Bevi) that doesn’t rely on plastic water bottles. And, while you’re at it, this can be an excuse to get your logo printed on reusable bottles…everybody loves swag!

4. Make Recycling a Focal Point
Set up a conveniently-located recycling center in your office for paper, plastic, and aluminum. The non-profit Recycling at Work offers a 10-step plan to get your office on the recycling bandwagon.

5. Literally, Go Green
Finally, you can exercise your green thumb in the office in a way that literally makes your office green! Did you know that some plants can actually clean the air and are hard to kill? If your thumbs aren’t green, consider hanging some of these plants in your office to bring the outdoors in and clean the air.

6. You’ve Got (Less) Mail
How many of those office supply catalogs do you really need? If you answered “one,” then you’ve got some work to do. Don’t worry…it’s easy! Check out Catalog Choice (a website) or Paper Karma (an app) and stop getting junk mail. You’ll save your sanity and tons of paper by doing so.

7. Power Down Your Equipment
How often do you leave your monitor on at the end of a workday? You can save power consumption and costs by turning equipment off before you leave. Standby power, also known in spookier circles as phantom or vampire power, can add to your power costs without you realizing it. Can you turn off any equipment that usually stays on? If the equipment (lamp, computer, industrial wood chipper, etc.) is plugged into a power strip, turn the power strip off before you leave at night.
And when your equipment has outlasted its lifespan, make sure to recycle it. You can search for a technology recycler in your city on Google.

8. Telecommuting (Because Teleporting Isn’t a Thing Yet)
It seems like telecommuting trends are constantly changing; one day it’s hip and the next it’s not. Either way, you can create a telecommuting policy that allows your employees to have a few days a month where they can work from home. Telecommuting helps the Earth by conserving energy and reducing fuel consumption.

9. Let Your Light Shine
Install compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or LED bulbs where you can. These bulbs last longer and decrease your energy footprint. Even though these bulbs cost more upfront, they will actually save you money over time because they last longer. And, if you have a sunny corner in your office, consider turning the lights off. You could even start “Lights Out Fridays”; you could set a chill mood where people can be extra productive at the end of the week.

10. Chill Out with Your Thermostat
Save energy and money by turning your thermostat down one degree in the winter. You save approximately 3% on your energy bill for every degree you set your thermostat back. Encourage everyone to keep a “work jacket” or cardigan (or even a work Snuggie) at their desks if it’s a little cold for their liking.

This is not even remotely an exhaustive list of ways your business can go green, but it’s a great place to start! Saving on your energy consumption will also save your company money (win-win!). Each little thing you do to improve our planet can add up to a massive impact.