Create a greener and waste-free office space

Eco Friendly Products Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Office Environment Paperless Recycle Reduce Reuse Reuseable Bottle waste-Free Waste-Free Office Space

We have often talked about being more sustainable in our homes, in our shopping, in our exercise routine or while dining out, but another important space where a lot of people spend their day is their office. It doesn’t matter if you only have a desk, a cubicle or a closed of office space, here are tips everyone can follow and put in place immediately in order to create a greener office environment. 


Everyday actions that will make a difference

  1. Say no to single-use. This is probably the easiest thing you can do as an individual to reduce waste and increase sustainability in your office. Bring your own reusable water bottle and fill that up instead of using single use cups, or buying plastic water bottles at vending machines. If you have an office kitchen, where you enjoy coffee breaks and snack, bring a mug from home, reusable cutlery, and anything else you might need during these breaks.

  2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Make sure your personal space, as well as shared areas, are equipped with accessible and clearly labeled recycling bins so that everything that might be disposed of has a clear place to be put it.

  3. Go paperless. The greenest paper there is, is no paper at all! A 2014 study conducted by Catalog Spree and PaperKarma, revealed that if the US alone cuts its office paper use by just 10%, it would reduce the Country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 1.45 million metric tons, which is the equivalent to taking 280,000 cars off the road for an entire year! A lot has changed since 2014 and in many companies the use of paper has surely already decreased significantly since that study was released, but there are still offices and businesses that are use excessive amounts of paper. If your office is one of these, try your very best to keep things digital whenever possible and spread the word with your co-workers too. Other ways to cut down on paper is to ask vendors to offer e-statements and digital invoices. If you aren’t already doing it, you could set up automated payments in order to eliminate the need for printed checks. Also, implement double-sided printing as a default setting on your printers or computer, so whenever you really do need to print something out (on recycled paper of course!), you will half the amount of sheets required.

  4. Bring a plant to work! If your office allows it, bring in a desk plant to improve indoor air quality, and to add a touch of nature to the environment.

  5. Embrace natural light. Another thing you can do to make your office space a little greener, is to maximize natural light. Numerous studies show that employees who work near sunlit windows have a higher production rate, than those who don’t. Lighting usually accounts for approximately 20%-30% of an average companies carbon footprint, so using natural lighting will not only bring employees added health benefits, but will also cut down on energy consumption and utility bills. We understand that not all office spaces are able to completely avoid the use of electricity, so at least remember to switch off all the lights, whenever you step out of a room. Also, consider replacing all lighting fixtures with LEDs, as well as incorporating sensors and timers for office lighting.

  6. Un-Plug it! Install a smart power strip at your workstation, this will not only make sure all the lights at your desk are switched off at the end of the day, but will also un-plug computers, printers/copiers, and all other electronics that do not need to be left on over evenings, weekends and holidays.

  7. Lay off the thermostat. Same logic that applies to all devices and lighting that need to be switched off when not in use, also applies to heating and cooling systems. We are aware that in most office there is a never-ending battle over what the best office temperature is. Some people are always cold, some people are always hot, nevertheless, make sure the thermostat is switched off overnight, and that your HVAC system is in good condition and checked regularly. 

  8. Use Non-Toxic cleaning products. Look into what cleaning products are being used in your office. Are they harmful to the environment? Do they contain harsh chemicals? If so, switch to more eco-friendly products.


Don’t do this alone, get colleagues involved too!

Things like ditching single-use plastic and opting for reusable water bottles or coffee mugs, printing less, switching off lamps and devices when not in use, bringing in a desk plant, are all things that you can do as an individual. We realize though, that if you work for a big corporation, or if you work in a shared office space, other actions, such as replacing lighting fixtures and switching off the main thermostat in the building, are decisions that may need to be addressed at an upper level or in agreement with others. If that is the case we encourage you to talk with your colleagues, or with your superiors, about these bigger decisions, and push the idea of a ‘Green Committee’ who is in charge of raising awareness and putting forward more initiatives to make the office a more eco-friendly space for everyone involved. Colleagues engaging with one another and talking about these matters will be more effective than memos coming from the top. For example, ‘Green jars’ could be put in place, and every time someone forgets to switch off a light or a device, or forgets to bring their reusable bottle, they could put money in the jar. When it’s full, the money could be donated to a charity that works locally for the environment. The committee could also organize ‘away days’ that could help teach more about sustainability, or by building team unity volunteering at an environmental charity.

Have you already implemented some of these changes in your office? Will you encourage others to take these tips on board? Let us know!

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