5 Ways Offices Can Go Greener
Updated: Apr 25
Offices can have a big impact on the environment – both in terms of the energy they consume and the waste they produce. Luckily, there are a number of ways office workers and employers can be more eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprint.
Here are five ways your office can go greener.
Make Recycling A Part Of The Culture
1. Start with the basics: paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal.
We all know that materials like paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal can be recycled into new products, but common knowledge isn't always common practice. Regularly encouraging employees to recycle helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and helps conserve natural resources.
2. Use recycling bins for each type of material.
It can be confusing to know which bin to put recyclable materials in, but using recycling bins specifically for paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal helps make the process easier. This also makes it easier to track how much waste your office is recycling each month.
3. Educate your staff on office recycling etiquette.
In order for office recycling to be effective, everyone needs to know how and why it's important. Just because recycling seems like it's common knowledge at this point, doesn't mean it's common practice. Make sure your staff knows what can and can't be recycled, focusing particularly on the different types of plastic, including which can be recycled, alternatives for the uncommon plastic types well as how to recycle them properly.
4. Make recycling easy: place office recycling bins near the entrances and exits.
Placing office recycling bins in primary locations makes it easy for employees to recycle materials without having to go out of their way. Placing recycling bins near office entrances and exits is also a good way to remind people to recycle on their way out.
5. Make sure your office has the right recycling bin for the job.
Not all recycling bins are created equal. If your office has a lot of plastic waste, make sure you have a recycling bin that can accommodate different types of plastic. The same goes for other types of recyclable materials. Having the right type of recycling bin for the job will help make office recycling more efficient.
Enroll Your Office In A Composting Program
In addition to recycling, another way to go green is to enroll your office in a composting program. Composting is the process of turning organic food waste into compost, which can be used as a fertilizer and soil amendment.
There are many benefits to composting:
It reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
It helps conserve natural resources.
It's a sustainable way to produce fertilizer and soil amendment.
It helps improve air quality.
If your office isn't composting yet, there are a few things you need to know before enrolling:
Not all offices have the space for composting bins.
Not all organic waste can be composted.
Composting takes time and patience.
If your office is interested in composting but doesn't have the space or time for it, consider working with a local composting facility. There are many facilities that will pick up food waste from businesses and homes.
For more information on office composting, check out this guide from the EPA.
Use Energy-Efficient Lighting
Another way to reduce your office's carbon footprint is by using energy-efficient lighting. LED light bulbs are a great option for office lighting because they use less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs.
To switch to LED light bulbs, you'll need to:
Replace all the lightbulbs in your office with LED light bulbs.
Make sure the wattage of the LED light bulbs is equivalent to or less than the wattage of the traditional light bulbs you're replacing.
If your office has fluorescent tubes, consider replacing them with LED tubes.
For more information on converting to LED office lighting, check out this guide from Energy Star.
Go Paperless: How to Reduce Your Office’s Carbon Footprint
In an office setting, the average employee uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year. That number can be significantly reduced through the use of digital office tools and going paperless. Going paperless is a great waste reduction strategy. Not only does it reduce your office’s carbon footprint, it also saves on costs. By educating your staff on the benefits of going paperless, you can help make the switch easier for everyone.
1. Evaluate your office’s needs.
Before making the switch to a paperless office, take a look at what areas of your office are still reliant on paper--how much is necessary, and how much is paper waste? This can include things like invoices, meeting notes, and reports.
2. Make the switch to digital tools for common office tasks.
There are a number of digital tools that can help you go paperless, including cloud storage, online databases, and digital signatures.
3. Encourage employees to BYOD.
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD is becoming increasingly popular in office settings. This allows employees to use their own devices for work tasks, which can help reduce the amount of paper used in the office. Employers can also incentivize BYOD by potentially providing reimbursements for devices like mobile phones.
4. Convert physical documents to digital files.
If you do have some physical documents that need to be converted to digital files, there are a number of ways to do this, including scanning and optical character recognition (OCR).
Encourage Multi-Use Containers
Another way to reduce office waste is by encouraging the use of multi-use containers. This means instead of using one-time-use plastics, cups, plates, and utensils, employees use reusable containers that can be washed and reused.
There are a number of benefits to using multi-use containers:
They help reduce the amount of waste produced in office settings.
They're more environmentally friendly.
They can save office staff time and money.
If your office is interested in using multi-use containers, there are a few things you need to know:
Not all materials can be used for multiple purposes. For example, you can't reuse Styrofoam cups.
You'll need to provide a place for employees to wash and dry the containers.
You'll need to make sure there are enough containers for everyone.
For more information on using multi-use containers in office settings, check out this guide from the EPA on reducing food waste packaging.
Finally, Coordinate with Commercial Cleaning Staff
When it comes to an office recycling program, there are many things you can do to go greener and reduce your carbon footprint. By using energy-efficient lighting, going paperless, and encouraging the use of reusable containers, you can make a big impact on office waste.
One of the easiest ways to reduce office waste is by working with a commercial recycling partner, like Pritchard Industries. We can make recycling simple, easy, and clean to operate—from handling your business’ trash to sorting cardboard and other recyclable materials, Pritchard can be your partner for a better, cleaner tomorrow.