9 to 5 work hours are the norm globally in offices and business, which means a considerable portion of our lives are spent in offices. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that offices are one of the largest contributors to the global problem of pollution and wasted resources. It is estimated that, on average, a single office worker in America generates about 2 pounds of paper and paperboard trash daily. And most of it ends up in landfills, never recycled due to various factors. This kind of wasteful lifestyle of individuals has a significant impact on the environment.
Offices and companies around the globe are taking notice of the issue and are encouraging employees to reduce office waste by efficient use of energy at the office, using recyclable products such as metal tin containers, aluminum bottles, ceramic mugs, and other consumables at the office, and adopting a paperless work style. Employees are participating with great excitement and bringing change to their office lifestyle to reduce their impact on nature. Still, sometimes people miss out on the small actions and their effects on us. This blog will highlight the current issues in offices and how to move away from them to make the offices more sustainable.
1. Plastic invention was a life-changing phenomenon back at the time, and it became the most used material in the world. Unfortunately, its overuse has caused humans to suffer a lot. Plastic waste is a global issue, and the central trouble creators are the one-time-use plastic bottles, cups, bags, and containers. Plastic recycling is difficult, expensive and not safe as it is made from several harmful chemicals. So, most of the plastic workers throw usually ends up in the landfills.
The most crucial step in reducing office plastic waste is avoiding or banning one-time-use plastics altogether. Water provided in disposable plastic bottles at the office should be replaced with water coolers where workers can refill their reusable water bottles and mugs. Consider building a small kitchenette with reusable utensils and a dishwasher, encouraging employees to decrease their dependency on disposable utensils. This could further encourage employees to bring healthy homemade food in glass or tin containers, which is always a preferred option by many. You can even design and distribute custom tins and ceramic mugs with your company logos for additional branding. These steps will encourage employees to live more sustainable office life.
2. Efficient usage and energy conservation in offices play a pivotal role in making any company a sustainable workplace. Unnecessary lights and cooling or heating systems increase energy bills and the office’s carbon footprint. Therefore, energy conservation habits need to be instilled in all employees. It would help if you educated employees to turn off their personal computers, lights, fans, AC, or heaters when not in use. Furthermore, you could install automatic switches to turn off appliances that are not in use. These solutions have the potential to drastically decrease energy consumption and lower your office bills.
3. Paper waste is another significant contributor to office waste. Paper is widely used around the office but generally misused at large. Employees can consider the following tips to help them towards a more sustainable and greener office life:
· Take Paperless Notes: Instead of writing notes on paper, it is wise to carry a small tablet or a laptop for essential note-taking. Most of the time, handwritten notes need to be converted into digital notes anyway, and you run the risk of easily misplacing the physical paper notes.
· Reuse Misprints: If employees want to write a few bullet points or short notes considered rough work, encourage them to take misprinted paper instead of the new ones. Usually, offices are full of misprinted memos and faxes, usually thrown into the trash. Employees can also use old memos for note-taking.
· Use both sides of the paper: While printing, copying or writing, make sure to use both sides of the same paper. It is common among employees to use only one side of the paper while printing, and such practice should be discouraged and stopped (set printers to print on both sides on default).
· Use Emails and E-Memos: Instead of fax and paper memos, the same can be achieved via emails and e-memos. It does not only save paper but is also easy to keep track of and follow up with further updates. Bills and banking services should also be switched to Online banking to reduce paper waste.
Considering the amount of time employees spend in offices, it will not be wrong to say that the office is a second home for most employees, so it is very important to ensure that offices and companies are run sustainably. One estimate determines that almost 70% of office waste is recyclable, therefore, it is of great importance that offices are equipped with separate bins for waste sorting. When implemented correctly, the small steps mentioned above will considerably reduce waste in our offices and achieve sustainable environmental goals.