10 Tips And Tricks On Sustainability In Your Office

While often associated with sustainability, going “zero waste” or at least “low waste” doesn’t just benefit the environment - it also saves money, especially in the long run. As The Green Economy Coalition (a non-profit organization) notes, green buildings don’t just save money for owners and occupants, but also spur job creation and bring businesses and communities together.

If you’re thinking about making a switch to a greener business, these 10 small but meaningful ways will help get you started.

1. Turn off screensavers

Contrary to their name, screensavers do not save energy - they actually use more energy to keep the display on and play the animation on the screen. The best and most eco-friendly way to protect a screen that is not being used is to simply switch it off.

2. Buy Second-Hand

From office furniture to office supplies, buying second-hand is a sure way towards a greener office. Not only is second-hand office material and furniture a great way to get the most value for your money, it's also a great way to reduce the volume of materials used to manufacture new products, therefore reducing the number of raw materials and energy used to create a new product.

3. Use natural lighting

According to the World Green Building Council report, people exposed to natural daylight have a 15% higher production rate. Aside from positively affecting the body’s circadian rhythm and vitamin D absorption, natural lighting can also help you reduce energy consumption and utility bill costs.

4. Go paperless whenever you can

Paper is a resource that's easy to overuse - huge amounts of paper get tossed in the trash every day. Virtually every company is able to save money by going paperless. Whatever you need - whether it’s a monthly report, a client contract, or an info sheet - most of it can be done, sent, and stored digitally.

5. When you can’t - use recycled paper for printing

There are instances when you simply need something on paper. In case you can’t skip paper, make sure to use recycled paper instead. When it comes to paper use, recycled paper is the greenest option because it uses fewer resources and leaves a smaller carbon footprint than the manufacturing of regular paper.  

6. Invest in reusable silverware

Plastic utensils are simply terrible for the environment. People rarely think about where all those plastic forks and knives that you throw away after a company celebration end up. Most of them are not recyclable or made from recycled material. Switching to regular silverware is a great way to eliminate plastic cutlery altogether.

7. Eliminate paper towels

You are not using a paper towel at home, are you? Whether in the kitchen or in the bathroom, you can easily replace paper towels with cloth towels and microfiber cleaning cloths. Also, consider bringing your own hand towel for hand drying every day.

8. Bring your own coffee mug

Whether you’re using an espresso machine or a French press, bringing your own reusable bottle or coffee mug to work is one of the simplest and most effective eco-initiatives you can take.

9. Use compostable plates and cups for company birthdays and promotions

Luckily, today there are plenty of affordable compostable or recyclable plates and glasses that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you’re celebrating birthdays or promotions, you can always avoid buying plastic single-use cups and plates.

10. Use pencils instead of pens 

Pencils are considerably friendlier to the environment than pens. Unlike a pen, a pencil is made of wood, which is a renewable resource. And unlike a pen, a pencil can be re-used and re-sharpened, leaving just biodegradable waste, which means less plastic and disposable parts being generated.

Many offices have implemented initiatives to become sustainable and cut down on waste. But it's not always easy to know where to start, especially if your office isn't exactly the eco-friendly type. We hope this list helps you get some ideas on how to go zero waste in your own office, whether you're an office manager, a business owner, or simply someone who wants to make a change for the better.

Do your office colleagues practice any of these economical and eco-friendly ways to cut waste and energy consumption? Which ones would you like to incorporate in your office and why?