08 Mar Six simple steps to running an eco-friendly office
Even the non-eco-warriors among us know we need to do our part, however small, to make the world a cleaner place and slow the rate of pollution. After all, “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” (Chief Seattle).
In particular, the news this week that tropical forests are soaking up less and less carbon – and could even turn into a source of carbon by 2060 – got us thinking about all the ways we can keep an eye on our own carbon footprint in the office.
Here are our top tips for small businesses to do their bit:
Double your screens. More and more of us are using second screens in order to streamline the way we work and increase efficiencies. But the added environmental benefit of being able to compare documents side-by-side is that we can make a massive reduction in both printing and our usage of paper. What’s more, the investment of purchasing an additional screen for each employee can be recouped within just a few months, after which time you’ll be making a significant saving each month.
Shred and recycle. Given that UK households have been actively recycling for decades now, it’s time that we encouraged employees to be just as conscientious about recycling in the workplace. However, part of this means providing the right facilities for staff to shred any redundant paperwork (which is now considered best practice under the GDPR in any case), but also, to recycle cardboard, plastic and other packaging where feasible. At Organised You, we have regular collections for shredded paper and recyclables, which saves us having to worry about how to dispose of our waste in the appropriate manner.
Give a crap. Using recycled toilet paper and tissues is an easy way of helping the environment and shouldn’t cost any more than buying non-recycled products. With brands such as Who Gives a Crap, you can enjoy soft, strong 3-ply toilet tissue while resting safe in the knowledge that you’re using 100% recycled paper with no inks, dyes or scents. Alternatively, brands such as The Cheeky Panda offer toilet rolls made from 100% bamboo fibre which is super-soft, renewable and ultra-sustainable.
Bring the outdoors indoors: Not only do our plants brighten up the office at Organised You, they’re also great for the environment, not to mention our health. According to NASA, indoor plants help to reduce carbon emissions and cleanse the air around you as you work by removing up to 87% of toxins within 24 hours. We love a good pot plant, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even follow the current trend of installing a ceiling garden in your office.
Light up the room with LEDs: Did you know, LED lightbulbs have an average life of 20,000 hours compared to just 1,000 hours for a standard filament bulb, which also uses 10x more watts to provide the same level of lumens (brightness)? If you’re into your gadgets, you could even invest in wi-fi enabled smart lightbulbs, which can be controlled remotely by your mobile phone (to switch lights on and off, or dim them, at various times of the day) so that you don’t need to rely on your staff to remember to turn them all off when they leave.
Smarten up your sockets. Many of us use anti-surge power sockets to protect our machines from damage caused by transient voltage (i.e. an unexpected surge in power). But by upgrading to smart strip sockets, which are specifically designed to monitor and control power to each electrical outlet plugged into the strip, you can improve energy efficiency and save power wastage each day without having to worry about switching off each machine at the wall each evening.
Whether at home or in the office, reducing pollution is something we’re all equally responsible for. Developing an eco-friendly strategy in the workplace doesn’t need to be a complex process. As a small business owner, adopting simple steps like the ones above, as and when you can, will help you feel you feel you’re ‘doing your bit’ in the quest for a greener, more sustainable planet.