Top 10 Tips for an Eco Friendly Office
In recent years there has been a lot of talk about global warming and what needs to happen to avoid the expected 3-5-degree temperature climb. Even though scientists are calling for governments to act, many powerful leaders are still refusing to believe that global warming even exists.
Due to this, everyday people have realised that the only way we are going to see immediate change is if we make more environmentally friendly changes and spread awareness. As a business owner, the best way to assist this movement is to introduce change into your business.
Following are 10 easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint in your business and create an eco friendly office.
- Limit your paper usage
Recycling paper is a great way to help the environment but there are still trees being cut down to be turned into paper. Around 22 million tons of paper ends up in landfill and nearly 4 billion trees are harvested for paper each year. Many animals live in environments where this harvesting is occurring, and the carbon dioxide produced from the harvesting machines are also leading to the depletion of our planet. Using less paper is an obvious and easy solution for anyone trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Did you know that sticky notes can’t be recycled? A good replacement for sticky notes is pins and a cork board. Also try to use both sides of a piece of paper and avoid printing as much as you can to help save the trees. Every action matters.
- Look for sustainably made stationery
A lot of home and office stationery is made from non-recycled and/or non-recyclable materials and 99% of pens and old office stationery ends up in landfill. It may not seem like it, but there is a way to combat this issue. Many online stores like https://www.biome.com.au/ offer sustainably and ethically made stationery out of either recycled or eco-friendly materials that can be composted or reused at the end of its life. So next time you run out of any type of stationary, remember to try to shop sustainably first before reaching for that bulk pack of plastic pens.
- Give you computer a rest
OK, raise your hand if you leave your computer turned on at night at least twice a week. If you’re anything like the general population, you probably leave your computer on overnight fairly regularly without realising that it’s better for the Earth and your wallet to turn it off. Of course, you aren’t going to be saving thousands of dollars a year or planting trees by turning your computer off when you’re not using it, but it just may save you a couple of dollars and a tiny bit of CO2. At the very least, you’ll be able to go to sleep knowing that you’re at least making a small (but mighty) difference.
- Add some greenery
Indoor plants may be a hot trend in office décor at the moment, but they are also great for your mind, body and the environment. Let’s start with the basics. Plants do pretty much the exact opposite of what our lungs do: absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This not only freshens the air but also filters out harmful toxins that we could be breathing in. This statement is backed by a study by NASA that shows that houseplants can remove as much as 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. Body wise, many studies have shown that house and desk plants can improve productivity and concentration, boost your mood and also reduce stress levels. So, placing a small pot plant at your desk, or even around your home, will not only benefit your productivity, but the environment too.
- Ditch the single use coffee cups
Something about going to a coffee shop and receiving my drink in a plastic or cardboard cup always gives me a really guilty feeling. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that half a trillion non-reusable cups are manufactured around the world each year or that cardboard coffee cups actually can’t be recycled due to its surprisingly high plastic content, but I feel uneasy. A great way to combat these environmental and personal stressors is to invest in a reusable coffee cup. There are so many different types of cups out there to cater for every aesthetic, practical and environmental need that you could dream of, so STOP MAKING EXCUSES!
- Recycle your old electronics
Everyone hates the dreaded computer upgrade and all the transferring and back-ups that entail. But we rarely think about what’s going to happen to the old computer. According to the BBC, every year 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste in generated worldwide and sadly most of that e-waste goes to landfill. The problem with sending electronics to landfill is the toxic materials that make the device work like lead, arsenic and cadmium. Once these materials reach landfill, they have the potential to leak into our ecosystem and waterways, damaging animal and plant life. However, manufacturers and local businesses alike have started recycling programs which helps keep these toxic chemicals out of the ecosystem and re-uses these finite materials to make new devices. So, next time you have to upgrade your computer, make sure you’re aware of the e-waste recycling options that are available in your area.
- The ‘Cloud’ is your new BFF
You may have heard people say that the best place to store your business files and work is the cloud, but what exactly is ‘the cloud’ and why is it on this list? Well, the official Urban Dictionary definition of ‘the cloud’ is, ‘a web server or servers that are not understood by the user of the term. What do you mean it won’t work? I can just send it to The Cloud, can’t I? THE CLOUD?’ which isn’t a particularly helpful definition so, let me explain. The cloud essentially means the internet. The cloud is more environmentally friendly because accessing digitally saved files takes less computer battery to access. Digitally stored files are also overall easier to access remotely and safer, due to laws that require digital storage providers to have some of the best ransomware protection strategies. If these reasons don’t convince you to switch from your hard drive or local storage to the cloud, I don’t know what will.
- Layer up
I have a confession – during the winter months nothing makes me happier than cranking up the heater and switching on my foot heating pad while it’s practically snowing outside. But this habit generally ends up costing the house a fortune in power bills. A way that I am trying to reduce my electricity consumption is by layering on warm clothes before I turn the heater up to 200 degrees. I’m obviously not saying that you should try to put on as many Puffa Jackets as you can before you pass out, but by putting on a thermal underneath a warm jumper and slipping on some UGG boots before you turn the heater to ‘high’ will save the Earth some energy and you some money on your next electricity bill.
- Use daylight to your advantage
Nature truly is your best friend and will supply you with almost everything you need; light is no exception. On those winter afternoons or late nights try to keep the lights off for as long as possible to reduce electricity usage. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit in the dark writing by candlelight but just try to keep the lights off during the hours when the sun provides enough light.
- Switch to LED light bulbs
And if you have to turn on the lights, here is a great tip for you! LED light bulbs and strips have become a huge selling point for many different products recently and there is a good reason why. LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than fluorescent and incandescent lights which means that they use less electricity and produce more light. LEDs convert 95% of the energy to the bulb into light with only 5% of the supplied energy escaping as heat, whereas 95% of energy used by fluorescent lights escapes as heat and 90% of energy used by incandescent lighting. Next time you have to replace the light in your lounge room lamp, think of the Earth and try reaching for an LED light instead of a fluorescent bulb.
It’s really common nowadays for people to be so short sighted by the want for business, financial and personal success that we as humans have forgotten how important it is to take care of our Earth. The current bushfires in Australia have only illuminated this common trend for certain people (ahem ScoMo) but they have also opened other people’s eyes to the urgency of the climate crisis. I truly hope that you can use this list to work on driving your business’ carbon footprint down to zero as we work together as a planet to avoid more tragedies like the fires and worse environmental collapses from occurring in the future.