Creating a Green Workplace in 2019

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It has never been more important to be doing your bit to help the planet. As more and more research becomes available about how humans are impacting the world negatively in terms of the natural environment, it is increasingly important to try to do what we can. 

Many people have already carved out a routine for themselves at home. Whether it is recycling, in our gardens or trying to lower or cut out our energy consumption at home there is always something can be done. We are continuously being given guidelines about what we should be doing at home to protect the environment, but at work, things are often a little different.

Creating a green workspace is equally – if not more - as important as being green at home, but it can also be more challenging, as there are often other people around.

Here are some ideas about how you can create a greener workspace.

1. Get your recycling Sorted

Businesses create a lot of waste – much of which can be recycled. Packaging, scrap paper, electronic goods, printer cartridges and food waste can all be recycled, and often the more niche ‘waste’ that your business can produce, also has the possibility of being recycled.

Cardboard recycling machines can help you to bale up all of your cardboard waste and compact it together, reducing the need for bulky paper waste bins, all of which can be disposed of through the ‘normal’ refuse system.

It can be useful to provide recycling facilities around an office to encourage your colleagues to use them and play their part in the recycling process.

2. Create as little waste as possible

Whilst it is a great idea to recycle as much as possible, it is even better to try to reduce the amount of waste that the workplace uses. It is almost certain that there will be some waste – which should be recycled as much as possible – but creating less means less waste in general. Trying to go paperless is one way to significantly reduce the amount of rubbish that is produced – or at least not keeping paper copies of everything.

Not using disposable cups, mugs, sugar sachets, coffee sachets, spoons, etc, can also make a huge difference. Also, try buying things like coffee and tea bags in bulk and get your milk delivered by a local milkman if you have one.

Check out Global Green’s further information on food waste prevention and recycling outreach materials. 

3. Energy Saving

Another important aspect of creating a green workspace is by saving energy. The creation of energy can be very damaging to the world and its natural resources, as well as the pollution that it causes when they are being used to make the energy.

Try to use as much renewable energy as possible – talk to your energy provider about this and try to cut down on the amount of energy that you are using in the workspace. For example, try to encourage people to turn their computer and other appliances off at the wall at the end of the day. Although you’re not using it, you can waste a lot of energy this way. You might want to consider light sensor switches in the bathroom, for instance – to ensure that lights aren’t left on, or that you are only using the energy that you really need.

Think about keeping the curtains or blinds open as much as possible, not only to get an influx of natural light, but also some extra heat in when you need it. You could also turn the heating down by 1 or 2 degrees to make a big difference.

For more information, check out Global Global Green’s piece on Why Methane Matters.

4. Implement Eco-Friendly Habits

For most people, the barrier to being more eco-friendly is all about getting into the habit of it. After all, people don’t usually mind putting their rubbish somewhere different, or taking their own bag to the supermarket, as long as it’s convenient for them. It can be useful to try to implement some eco-friendly habits in the workplace. They could include ideas such as:

  • Bringing your own reusable mug, bottle or glass

  • Getting public transport, cycling or walking to work

  • Fitting and using a filtered water tap instead of a water cooler or buying bottles

  • Supporting eco-friendly charities

  • Electronic messaging (cut out the post-it notes!)

  • Encouraging indoor plants

A green workspace is an efficient and conscientious workspace, and this is beneficial not only to the planet but also to the business as well as the individual workers. There are some aspects which are not difficult to implement and can make a big impact on the environmentally-friendliness of the workspace.

Ella Hendrix