Each day we are reminded about the benefits of going green and being Eco-friendly, and many of us have taken notice and brought about changes to our personal routines and our homes. This is usually quite easy, especially when you are the one who gets to enjoy the cost savings this often results in. However, this same drive is absent in our workplace where we print without thinking, throw away paper instead of recycling, and leave our computer and other devices switched on all the time.
Part of the problem is that some people could not be bothered by green initiatives, especially if it involves any effort. Instead of trying to change their behavior, you should rather look at ways to make being Eco-friendly easier for everyone.
Organisations frequently make the mistake of having a central location for collecting all recyclable paper, which is why people just throw the paper in with all the other trash. Have a paper recycling box in each office instead (these can be purchased directly from recycling agencies and office supplies stores), which are collected and emptied weekly.
Use smart power strips for all electronic devices and set all computers to hibernate after 10 minutes of inactivity. These two methods can result in a considerable saving to the company energy bill, but either, especially when combined.
Corporations are slowly moving towards a paperless environment, but for now there are still many items that have to be printed:
- Financial Reports
- Marketing Material
- Information Booklets
- Business Cards
Seeds and Greener Printer are two companies offering a full Eco-friendly print solution. From biodegradable labels to all recycled paper and card stock, and even printing using vegetable based inks.
Your website has to be available all the time, but you can ensure that the energy it uses is green by having it hosted with a ‘green host’. Many web hosts have started to promote their businesses as being Eco-friendly, but you should still read up on what they are doing to reduce their environmental impact. GreenGeeks purchases wind energy credits to compensate for the power they pull from the grid, but they take this a step further by buying wind energy credits equal to three times the power they actually consume.
Other simple changes you can consider include:
- Switching to CFL bulbs
- Using recycled paper for all office printing
- Using a printer capable of automatic duplex printing (printing on both sides of each page)
- Slowly replacing all office equipment with ENERGY STAR™ compliant versions
- Replace break room appliances with ENERGY STAR™ models
- Switch to reusable filters for the coffee maker
- Get rid of disposable cups and plates in the break room. Buying non-disposable versions will cost a bit more initially, but the lifetime savings, and environmental impact, are significant.
- Consider switching to recycled toilet tissue in all workplace bathrooms
- Stop buying bottled water and start using refillable jugs and bottles instead.
The next step would be to have an environmental or green policy drawn up. It will be easier to do this once you have already started making the changes outlined above, and a written policy affirms not only the commitment of the company, but also of all employees. The policy can expand on the measures by giving preference to suppliers who are also Eco-friendly; introducing a company policy regarding the printing of email messages and other documents; implementing wide-ranging recycling measures. There may be specific requirements should your company apply for green accreditation, but it isn’t necessary to go this route to make some difference.
Becoming Eco-friendly does involve extra effort initially, but as certain behaviors change, everything becomes a lot easier. Getting commitment from employees is also simpler when you begin soliciting their input in the new policy and guidelines.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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