Author: Kristen Summers, Everyday Sustainability Committee
Sustainability Day is celebrated on the fourth Wednesday of October. If you are looking for ways to implement more environmentally sustainable practices at your office, we’ve compiled a few recommendations for you and your co-workers:
1. Replace single use supplies
If your workplace is anything like mine, work lunches, parties, and gatherings are a regular occurrence. Every time there is a party, we use plastic forks and cups and disposable plates, which all get stuffed into the garbage 15 minutes later.
An alternative is to collect plates and cutlery (hello Goodwill!) to keep on stock to use for your in-office activities. You can also encourage attendees to BYO cups, forks, or plates to these activities.
2. Reduce plastic water bottles
Staying hydrated during the day is an important part of self care! However, the planet doesn’t love the daily use of single-use plastic water bottles.
Consider pooling funds with your co-workers to install a water cooler to get cool, fresh, water straight to your reusable water bottle. You can also bring in a filtered water pitcher to keep in the office fridge.
3. Print less
It’s easy to hit Ctrl+P whenever you want when you’re not paying for the paper. But easy access to a printer can lead to excessive printing which means wasted paper, ink, and energy.
Try to self-regulate the amount that you print by proof reading documents before you print, learning how to use software to organize your digital documents, and transitioning your business to paperless.
4. Reduce drive time
Want to cut down on your gas bill? Carpooling is an option for co-workers with a long commute. But that isn’t the only way to reduce the amount of traffic on the road.
Even if you don’t carpool to work, take the initiative to carpool with your co-workers to lunch or to order lunch from one place to reduce the amount of extra driving is needed.
We also encourage you to look into alternative methods of transportation like bike commuting or using public transportation.
5. Reduce electricity waste
Like at home, many electronic devices use electricity even when they are not operating. Encourage your employees or co-workers to “Switch it Off” when leaving the office for the night over the weekend.
Things that can use electricity when not in use include: power strips, desktop computers, monitors, printers, lamps, and charges. Prevent “phantom” energy use by unplugging items when not in use or using a smart power strip.
Have you implemented a successful office place sustainability campaign? We’d love to know what you did. Leave us a comment below and let us know how it went.