How to Have a More Sustainable Office

Going green is at the forefront of many people's minds. With the news full of stories on the growing threat of climate change, it's understandable if you're thinking about the ways you can help protect the environment.

On top of adopting green habits in your personal life, it can be a big help to practice sustainability in the workplace. Here are seven simple ways you can make your office a more eco-friendly place:

1. Switch Out Your Lights

Most power sources rely on fossil fuels, so the more electricity you use, the more you contribute to harmful carbon emissions. Switching out older incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents or LEDs is an easy way to reduce your energy usage. These bulbs use significantly less energy and last for much longer.

In addition to using more efficient lightbulbs, you can also use natural light. Open up curtains during the day instead of using artificial lights all the time.

2. Go Paperless

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Printing out reports and sending physical letters can use a lot of paper, killing many trees. Thankfully, with the help of modern technology, you don't have to use paper at all to do business.

Switch to email for communicating with clients or other businesses, and use digital files instead of booklets for employee manuals. You can even use digital services in place of traditional paper paystubs — and don't forget the convenience of cloud computing.

3. Improve the Commute

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Even a short commute can generate a considerable amount of pollution day after day. If you and your employees reduce or eliminate the emissions from your daily commute, this action could have a substantial positive impact on the environment.

Encourage your workers to walk or ride a bike to work, possibly offering incentives for them to do so. Going green will work best with every individual involved, so it helps to inspire your staff to practice sustainability as well.

4. Promote Recycling

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This one may seem obvious, but it's still crucial. Instead of all-purpose trash bins, opt for different recycling containers for the various kinds of waste in the office. People will be more likely to use these if they're easy to access, so ensure they're in easy-to-find places.

It may help to put different recycling bins in areas that correspond to their purpose. For example, you can put a paper bin near the copying machine and a food waste bin in the break room.

5. Unplug Your Electronics

It may surprise you that your electronics draw power even while turned off. "Energy vampires" are devices that continue to use energy when switched off but still plugged in. This electricity waste harms the environment and costs you money.

Luckily, this problem is easy to solve. Be sure to unplug your computers, copiers and any other electronics when you're not using them.

6. Clean Green

The way you clean your workplace can also impact sustainability. Many cleaning products are harmful to the environment and your health. That doesn't mean you should stop cleaning the office, but rather, you should reassess the products you use.

Consider switching out your cleaning goods for non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

7. Get Rid of Single-Use Plastics

More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. You can help reduce this number by moving away from single-use plastics. By buying reusable water bottles for the office, you can encourage your staff to stop using disposable plastics too. Encourage them to use reusable coffee mugs instead of paper cups, as these contain a type of plastic that makes them unrecyclable.

Make Environmentalism a Team Effort

Remember, sustainability in the office isn't a one-person job. If you want to make a difference with your business, you need to get everyone involved.

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