Going green often begins at home, but it never has to stop there.
Your example of a green life could very well be the push your friends and family need to make simple, eco-friendly changes in their own lives. In addition to leading by example in your personal relationships, you can use your environmental knowledge to push for green living at your job.
It’s not just the responsibility of managers or leadership personnel to implement positive changes. Any employee can speak up on behalf of the environment, and there’s no reason that employee shouldn’t be you.
You just have to know how to suggest eco-friendly changes that can be easily incorporated into your office space.
Here are a few methods to consider bringing up to leadership – or to take on yourself if you’re part of the management team.
Lighting and Electricity
One of the biggest opportunities to bring green life principles into the workplace is by improving how your team uses electricity. This goes for everything from the lighting used to the air conditioning and the basics of how it’s all powered.
Let’s take a closer look.
Change Your Lightbulbs
Those bright, incandescent lights illuminating the workspace may be great for keeping everyone alert and focused. But, they’re draining energy from the environment that could be used for better things.
Switch out all of these bulbs for fluorescent or LED lighting. Such options use a significantly less amount of energy while maintaining the quality of brightness you can get from standard bulbs.
If there are areas in which you can’t switch out the lights, try to make it a standard to use less lighting.
For example, there’s no reason the lights in the bathroom should be on all day or even the ones in the kitchen. It’s better to turn them on and off as people come and go.
Stop Using Screensavers
Another thing that can be improved as people come and go is their use of screensavers. This doesn’t mean to have employees in their desks all day – there are meetings to attend and clients to visit.
Instead, it means to train employees to turn their monitors off, rather than using screen savers. Show your team how to make use of power functions that turn on automatically. These will shut down a screen after a certain amount of time, similar to how a screen saver would work.
But, such a method uses much less energy over time in comparison to what is used by screen savers.
Power Down at the End of the Day
To best implement a green life strategy in terms of electricity, cut down on electric systems that stay on once everyone is gone. There’s no need to leave air conditioning or even a set of lights on.
Some may argue the lights are for security. But, if your office building has a night watch or a security system (which is also using electricity) you should be fine.
That’s what such precautions are for. Let them do their job and ease up on how much you rely on electricity when your team isn’t even at work.
Speaking of electricity, don’t forget to consider how you can cut down on some of the machines you use most – like the printer. Not only does constant printing use a large chunk of energy throughout the day, but it can often create an even bigger amount of waste.
Think of all the papers you get in meetings. How many of those do you actually keep versus those that end up thrown away?
Print Less Often
Although you can’t get rid of a printer entirely, you can cut back on how much printing you do.
Instead of printing various copies of things for meetings, send your minutes and talking points out electronically. Make it a point for everyone to come prepared with their tablets or laptops – which shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish in this digital age.
Don’t hesitate to make this a system you use with clients, too.
You may have to be a bit friendlier with your wording, but they should understand. Who knows, this one change to how you manage relationships might be the inspiration another office needs to take on green life changes.
Print Fewer Pages
When you do have to print something, there are many ways to print fewer pages than what you think you need.
The first, and most simple method, is to print things double-sided. This can literally cut your page count in half, which is a great accomplishment in terms of cutting back.
The other is to use special software programs to identify where space may be wasted on a printed page. These are systems that can recognize such opportunities and offer suggestions on how to make better use of a page’s space. As the user, you can opt to use the suggestions or not.
Make Recycling Part of Office Culture
Even with fewer and fewer pages printed, there are still bound to be some sheets people want to throw away. To offset the negative effects of this, place a paper recycling bin in a central location in your office.
The changes will be powerful for the environment, and a great visual reminder for all to see. You will likely find yourself emptying the paper recycling bin at least once a week – if not more!
This means in just one year, or even during one quarter, your office can make a significant step in the right direction towards green living. Plus, you can take your recycling efforts one step further by offering a bin for plastic or glass.
Changing Personal Habits
In addition to recycling plastic, you can teach your team small ways to minimize their use of this harmful item.
Skip the Straws and Encourage Reusable Cups
To skip the straw means to stop using straws. There really isn’t a need for them!
If for whatever reason someone in your office argues otherwise, tell them about reusable straws. These are metal straws that are easy to wash and simple to carry around and use for everything from the iced latte downstairs to the New Age Beverages in the office fridge.
Other reusable items that are great to make more use of include mugs, regular cups, and plates and silverware. In other words, encourage your team to treat the office kitchen like a regular kitchen.
Stress the importance of sharing and keeping everything clean as well as the value this brings to the environment. Such practices are much better than throw-away items like plastic cups and paper plates.
Use Green Cleaning Products
Treating the office kitchen like a regular kitchen means people will have to get used to rolling up their sleeves and doing a few dishes. Make sure they’re doing so with green cleaning products.
There are all kinds of eco-friendly dish soaps out there, not to mention the hand soaps and other cleaning supplies, too. You can use recycled paper towels or start a compost bin for such waste.
Transform a Standard Office Environment into a Green Life Environment
If you’ve been using green life practices for a while, you know just how simple it can really be. Such practices might take a bit of getting used to at first, but like anything else, they become second nature and follow us wherever we go.
Start bringing yours into the workplace and see what can happen when a whole community comes together for the better of the planet.
For more green living tips and tricks, click here.