Our lack of environmental awareness and how much our actions affect the environment is a global issue.
It’s been estimated that we produced around 31.9 million tonnes of waste in 2015 and 33.1 million tonnes in 2016 from commercial and industrial sites alone.
So it’s imperative that every business, large or small, does their part to reduce waste and help the environment. This guide looks at workplace tips to help employers and employees become conscious of their impact on the environment and what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint.
Making Your Workplace More Environmentally Friendly
This includes things like 100% recycled paper, non-toxic inks in pens & highlighters, or refillable ink cartridges. You can find a large variety of eco-friendly office supplies at The Green Office.
Lots of cleaning products have harmful chemicals that can cause damage to our health and the environment. It’s worth trying to encourage the use of green cleaning products within your company.
When you close the building down for the evening, make sure all lights, computers, printers and other electrical equipment are turned off. During the day you can make sure that display screens are set to a lower brightness or go into screensaver mode after 10 minutes of inactivity. One thing that people often forget is to turn the lights off when they leave a room. Additionally, energy saving bulbs should always be used where possible and so should natural sunlight. Investing in motion-activated lights can also be useful if people regularly forget to switch them off when they leave.
This means using less packaging, ordering in bulk if there’s only a few of you getting food from the same place, or even considering vegan or vegetarian options (cattle are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions). It’s also a good idea to use glasses to refill your water from the machine rather than disposable plastic cups.
Also, consider your drink choices, lots of workers like to grab a coffee in their break or on the way to work, so investing in a reusable mug would be environmentally friendly as well as a bit cheaper. Lots of coffee shops offer a small discount when you use your own coffee cup!
Although paperLESS might seem near impossible, it’s an admirable goal to set yourself. Documents can now be shared, edited and passed on using cloud based services like Google Drive and One Drive, which helps reduce the need for printing - you can even have documents signed electronically. And when paper is required, try and encourage the use of recycled paper.
Rather than printing out notes for a meeting, you could use a computer screen or projector to display the agenda or any visual aids for the meeting.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Is there any way that you can change what you're doing for the better? This means more than just throwing used paper in the recycling bin. It’s about considering whether you actually need to use the items in the first place... Do you really need disposable cups by the water machine or can you have reusable cups instead? Do you have to use only one side of the paper or can your printing be double-sided? Can you take notes on your laptop rather than using another piece of paper? Can you use a reusable “bag-for-life” instead of getting another disposable plastic bag? Can you take an extra couple of seconds to wash the baked bean tin you've just used instead of just throwing it in the bin? There’re lots more ways you could reduce your waste, reuse it or recycle it. It‘s about having a different approach to the waste that you create.
Working From Home
If you drive to work, particularly if you live far away, is it possible to work from home? Even just once or twice a week without using your car can go a long way to reducing your company’s carbon footprint. It also gives you more time as you avoid hours spent idling in traffic every day.
Casual Dress Codes in Summer Months
Not requiring suits at work can bring the costs down for air conditioning equipment.
Desk plants can increase the oxygen flow within an office and improve the air quality too. This can offset any chemicals released into the air by cleaning products, for example.
Encourage carpooling with employees who live close to each other, or the use of public transport where possible, or maybe you have a cycle- or walk-to-work scheme!
A conference call in the office could save several people driving, reducing the impact on the environment - including the catering van!
Supporting local businesses by buying food to cater for meetings can be beneficial to both you and the local community. It can help support the local environment as well as reduce transportation costs.
Create Monthly 'Green Challenges'
Everyone loves a good competition. Schemes which make recycling fun, or which offer rewards for car-pooling, or cycling and walking to work are a great way of getting everyone on board.
Workplace Carbon Emissions
Learn more about workplace carbon emissions with this sneak peek video from our Environmental Awareness Training...
What steps have iHASCO taken to become more environmentally friendly?
Here at iHASCO, we take environmentalism very seriously. We have listed below just a few of the ways in which we are trying to do our part for the environment.
- We have recycling stations throughout the office - from general waste, glass, paper, plastic, we even recycle our printer cartridges.
- We’ve switched from using plastic coffee filter cups to ground coffee!
- We have recycling posters throughout the office to encourage people to be more environmentally aware.
- Our scriptwriters use their laptops and projectors when presenting their scripts in writer’s meetings, instead of printing off reams of paper.
- We have motion-activated lighting in all of our office spaces.
- We have cupboards filled with reusable glasses and mugs instead of providing plastic cups.
- We encourage staff to car share or travel to work by train or bus.
- iHASCO also supplies cutlery and crockery so people don’t use plastic utensils for their food.
If you're an employer, please take a look at our sustainability for employers PDF.
Interested in our newly updated Environmental Awareness Course? Head over to our free trial page today!