Most of us spend at least a third of each weekday in an office environment – so it makes sense to look at some of the simple steps we can take to make our workplace a greener one.
Instead of just suggesting some changes, we thought we’d ask around to see what inspirational initiatives people were undertaking in their workplace. We found ad agencies with bike fleets and a stocked bike-tool wall and a design agency that resembled a lush green garden. We also uncovered a reusable cup revolution at a city law firm, and a worm farm making a change at a local cafe.
Check out our gallery below to see all the innovative changes:
Larger scale changes, like lighting and water retrofits, are hard to achieve by only one person. Put your facilities or sustainability manager in touch with a CitySwitch Green Office representative for these sorts of changes. They’ll be able to get free one-on-one consultation about making buildings more efficient.
If you aren’t able to make some of the changes shown in the gallery, here’s a few you can do on your own steam:
1. Leave the car at home
Catch public transport, ride or walk to work. If you have to drive, set up a travel roster with workplace living in your area. Each person you take with you is one less car on the road – and who knows, you might discover a shared love of 80s hits!
2. Bring a cup
Each day in Australia an estimated 1.3 million cups of takeaway coffee are consumed – which adds up to an enormous amount of waste. Bring your own cup or invest in a reuseable one –you’ll find that coffee often tastes better when it’s not drunk from a disposable cup.
3. A home-made lunch
And while you’re at it, packing your own lunch is also a good green choice, and often a much healthier option than takeaway. Not to mention the reduction in packaging from less plastic knives and forks!
4. Greenery for greening
A few office plants not only make the workplace a much nicer place to be, they also improve air quality. There’s nothing like a little pot plant love.
5. Less bins, less waste
Reduce the number of bins in the workplace – one for recyclables at each desk with all other waste to go in a central bin. If you have to walk to throw away your rubbish, you’re more likely to think about the waste you’re creating.
6. Get composting
Up to 20% of office waste is compostable, or green waste. Set up a green waste bin, or even a worm farm if possible. If you can’t use the waste onsite, a keen gardening workmate may take it home.
7. Turn off at the end of the day
Make sure you turn off all lights, computers and printers at the end of the day – also when you finish using a meeting room. We’re all forgetful, so a few well placed signs will do wonders, or your workplace might be willing to invest in timing devices that make the savings automatic.
8. Green printing strategies
Think about what you’re printing before you print – do you really need a hard copy? If you do, print two-sided black and white whenever you can and use recycled paper. Investigate print cartridge recycling in your office.
9. Re-use, recycle
Use scrap paper to make scribble pads for meeting notes, and re-use postage boxes, envelopes and packing material when you’re sending parcels from work. Investigate local charities to see if they are interested in taking old office furniture and equipment.
10. Work together!
Set up a green committee – by working together, you’re bound to come up with new ways to make your workplace a greener environment. Involve someone from management, and someone from accounts who can work out the cost savings – as well as anyone else with an interest or enthusiasm. The more the merrier!