Households are reminded again and again to reduce the amount of energy they use and waste they produce, but what about businesses? Even the smallest companies produce considerable waste each and every year.
Research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that 254 million tons of trash were generated by Americans in 2013, though each civilian (on average) recycles 1.5 pounds of garbage daily.
Every business has a responsibility to embrace a more sustainable culture, educating employees on proper recycling and disposal practices. How can you create a sustainable workplace without breaking the bank?
Minimize Hard Copies
Next time you hover your cursor over that ‘print’ icon, consider how essential a hard copy of that particular email or document is.
Can you get by simply reading it on your monitor? If you need to refer back to it while on the move or away from your desk, can you access it on your phone or tablet?
Reducing the amount of paper you use is critical. Shift your administration and management operations online, using one of the many cloud-based options available. You’ll save money on paper, produce less waste, and benefit from a database with greater access & security.
Invest in Luxurious Designer Furniture
Office furniture can, and does, come cheap.
Consequently, too many workplaces inflict uncomfortable chairs and desks upon their employees, expecting them to spend eight hours a day or more in unforgiving furniture that simply doesn’t allow them the flexibility and support their body needs.
As a result, workers may want to change chairs on a regular basis; cheaper pieces may also break in a shorter space of time.
Instead, invest in designer furniture crafted for luxurious comfort, such as ergonomic chairs built to offer users maximum support and encourage blissful relaxation.
Your employees will enjoy better moods and morale with a touch of luxury in the workplace; as a result, they may well be more likely to come up with their own ideas for a sustainable approach to their environment.
Spend money on high-quality furniture once, and you’ll spend less replacing it in future.
Work with employees and colleagues to create a compost system for the office. Start to make use of food waste, tea bags, paper, and other biodegradable materials by composting it.
Over time, you’ll use this to grow your own foods, perhaps as a team-building activity and a solid PR story. You can also donate compost to community gardens or employees with their own crops at home.
You’ll send less waste to landfill, whatever you do with your compost.
How many carbon emissions do you think your company’s travel needs produce each year?
Even if you run a small enterprise, traveling from city to city, country to country for business purposes can expand your carbon footprint (not to mention, boost expenses).
Instead, start replacing in-person meetings with video conferencing. This is free, saves time, and reduces your footprint. As you’re still face to face with those you’re talking to, you get to enjoy the same intimacy and trust.
Each of these strategies will create a more sustainable workplace without the expense often associated with more demanding eco-solutions (solar panels, etc.). Have you adopted any of these in your office, and if so, what advice would you give others?