How to Be Eco-Friendly in the Office

Published On November 10, 2015 | Green Tech

As more people are making environmentally-friendly choices at home, it makes sense that companies are following suit. Businesses are finding that eco-friendly practices can win customers, garner respect, and serve as an example to the employees and community. Here are some easy and surprisingly affordable ways to go green at work.

Buy Used

Not only is finding gently used office furniture a great way to revive discarded pieces, but it can be a significant savings and will set the tone for an eco-friendly workspace from the very beginning. With many companies nationwide offering up recycled and refurbished office equipment, this cost-saving, earth-saving choice is a no-brainer. And for a trendier office vibe, give new life to vintage finds, like solid oak desks and desktop lamps.

Buy Recycled

Whenever possible, select items that are made from recycled content. Anything from toner cartridges to carpets can be made from recycled materials rescued from the landfills. Look for postconsumer content, which means the content has already been used by consumers and is now enjoying a second life in a new form.

Recycle

There’s so much more for offices to recycle than just a few scraps of paper. Try recycling everything—from busted printers to burned-out light bulbs. Be sure to do some research because many of these items need to be recycled responsibly, so contact your local office supply store for drop-off locations, or check your local government’s website for details on what their recycling program will pick up.

Go Paperless

Replacing paper files for a completely digital office is easier on staff and the environment. Sending records and accessing folders with a click of the button is a cinch and laying off the paper waste is an eco-friendly move for any company. Make it your office-wide goal to use one ream of paper per month, or simply reduce the paper trail in any way you can.

Refill and Reuse

To stay green while reaching your paperless goal, refill empty ink cartridges instead of tossing used shells. Stores like Costco offer refill programs that will quickly refill old cartridges for a fraction of the replacement cost. Your company will save money and the Earth—it’s a win-win.

Automatic Lights

Are people constantly leaving the lights on in the supply room, lounge, or kitchen? Installing motion-activated sensors at the light switches can solve this common office misstep. Employees can rest easy knowing the lights will always be on when they need them and off when they don’t.

Clean Cleaners

Offices are often cleaned regularly and a deep scrub-down with caustic chemicals each time is probably unnecessary. Instead, try mixing it up with earth-friendly products that won’t pollute our soil and water supplies. Even swapping out the heavy-duty stuff for green alternatives at least every other cleaning can make a huge difference.

Make It Easy

Busy employees need easy access to recycling receptacles throughout the office. Place clearly marked bins next to every trashcan so workers have few excuses to make the right choice.

These small and simple tips can go a long ways when it comes to turning your office into an eco-friendly environment.

– By Jennifer Thayer

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