Whose Job Is It To Be Green?
Most people try to do their part at home. They recycle most of the time, and shut off lights in empty rooms, but what about at work?
If you take a look around you at the office, you’ll often notice that the good habits at home don’t necessarily carry over at work. Those disposable coffee cups, printed emails, and RE-printed documents create unnecessary waste.
It all adds up, particularly in a place where dozens or hundreds of people do the same each day.
And it may not be that you don’t care, but simply that individuals in a group are not likely to initiate action due to a phenomenon called Diffusion of Responsibility. The greater the number of people in the group, the more likely individuals will stand by unless assigned responsibility.
Management is in the best position to start a program. They may be hesitant to initiate green practices because of cost fears or because they are just not involved in the day-to-day details of the office.
If your workplace does not yet practice environmentally friendly behavior, there are small things that you can do to nudge your company into action.
Easy Green Practices
Begin with the easy tasks that people likely already do at home. These are the easiest to adopt.
• Institute a recycling program.
• Use real glassware and dishware. Bring in your own water and coffee cups for reuse.
• Purchase eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
• Often overlooked, organization is another key to being green. With a strong filing system in place, fewer documents need to be reprinted, wasting fewer supplies and resources.
The Green Routine
Once coworkers get used to these simple actions, it’s time to step up the stakes. Instituting new routines asks more of people, but can greatly reduce your office’s environmental impact. Over time, these habits become second nature.
• Unplug and shut off appliances and machinery before leaving for the day.
• Replace your iPhone charger with a solar powered charger. Unplug the charger when not in use. 95% of the energy drawn is wasted during this time.
• Replace lighting with CFL bulbs that use 66% less energy.
• Seasonal cleaning once each quarter to clean house, purge unnecessary documents and recycle the materials.
• Change the company printer settings to automatically print double-sided copies.
Major Green Change
Finally, you are ready to tackle more demanding adjustments. Introducing eco-friendly projects that require a change of mindset or policy is easier after small changes have been accepted. Biking to work is an example. Loosening company dress codes might be one way to encourage this behavior.
• Set up biking education programs. Assess interest for initiating a carpool or vanpool with a dedicated driver.
• If you live in a city, replace your personal gym membership by walking to work. Walking half an hour each way is about a mile. That’s two miles that you wouldn’t walk otherwise and that you don’t have to think about once the day is done!
• Purchase less and purchase smarter. Buy biodegradable and compostable products initially, and recycle what you can.
• Set up electronic billing instead of issuing paper bills.
• Utilize free apps to go paperless as much as possible to share meeting minutes and documents that many will share. Evernote is one such example.
• Seasonal plantings are wasteful. Permanently replant landscaping with evergreens or with an employee-farmed garden.
The Supplies Shops would like to help. Here are a few green products that we like best.
Jalema office accessories are made of 100% recycled plastics, biodegradable, and compostable materials. This 100% recycled office box is attractive and handy for filing and transporting documents. We also carry recycled bookends and letter trays from Jalema.
If you have suggestions on other items that you’d like us to offer, please let us know! We’ll look into your suggestion and let you know if we decide to feature it.