If you are already taking environmentally friendly steps at home, it’s a natural extension to take similar measures at work, both to save energy and to create a healthier workspace environment. Making the environment more pleasant for yourself, energy efficient, and eco-friendly will increase your enjoyment of the workplace and lessen its impact on the environment as a whole.
Don’t Be a Paper Pusher
When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing (toxic pulp slurry is the paper recycling industry’s dirty secret). When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.
Green the great indoors!
Making your office a healthier place can be as simple as introducing plants in the office, which can help to increase productivity by absorbing unhealthy toxins from the environment and replacing it with oxygen.
Use Green Materials
Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.
Consider Lighting Ergonomics
Proper lighting is essential for a healthy work environment. Getting rid of glare and shadows can reduce eye fatigue and headaches. If it’s available, natural light is best. If natural light is not an option, a quality lighting setup can help employees perform their tasks effectively and with less stress.
Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving.