We spend a lot of time at work so it’s important to bring greener habits from home into the workplace. There are a surprising number of things that can be done to make meeting a deadline or finishing off a project more environmentally friendly and help reduce our nine to five carbon footprints. And don’t forget to spread the word with your colleagues, so they’re reducing theirs too.
The Daily Commute
One of the biggest energy guzzling activities in the working day is the commute to and from work – and the amount of carbon emissions created depends on how each of us reaches the office every day. Driving, particularly when there’s only one person in the car, is the number one culprit.
Think carefully about how necessary it is for you to drive, or if there’s a more environmentally friendly method of travelling, such as public transport or even walking, you could take. If driving is the only way of you reaching work, try and start a car sharing pool with your colleagues, taking it in turn to drive. It’ll cost less and is a more sociable way of travelling too.
Bring your Good Habits to Work
We shouldn’t just leave the energy efficient habits we adopt at home when we go to work. Being sensible with the energy we use in the workplace can help to reduce carbon emissions created needlessly there every day.
Turn lights and equipment off when you leave a room, only boil as much water as is necessary for your mid morning cup of tea, and unplug your mobile phone or MP3 player charger. These are things that we may already do at home but never considered much in the workplace, but it’s vital everyone takes responsibility for their actions and activities wherever they are.
Try The Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
There are all sorts of things in the office that are wasted, thrown away or not used to their full potential, but there are easy ways to start improving this. For example, next time you head for the stationery cupboard, think again and try and use what you have. When did you last finish a pen, pencil or notepad? And ask for cups and glasses to be provided in the kitchens to replace throwaway plastic cups.
Recycling is also important. If you don’t have any facilities provided at work for this, try and petition your managers to provide this service. And it’s not just paper that you can save – drinks cans, plastics and even printer cartridges can be recycled rather than thrown away.
In such a technological age, paper based working has to a large extent been replaced by the electronic computer screen. Emails are now sent rather than letters and faxes, which is helping to drastically reduce the amount of paper that is wasted in an office. Keep paper wastage to a minimum by avoiding printing out emails or documents that you could simply read on a screen or send electronically.
If you do need to print, set the printer to print on both sides of the paper. Keep any scrap paper next to the printer so everyone can use it for printing out rough work using the other side of the page. You can also do the same for faxes and photocopiers.
It’s usually everyone’s favourite time of the day – logging off and going home time. But before we finish for the day, there are things we can do to minimise energy wastage overnight.
Many companies operate a policy of leaving computers on overnight, but there’s not often a logical or sensible reason for doing so. If workers turned their machines off at night, it would save 10 per cent of the total energy savings that are expected of businesses by the government, which is a good argument for making switching off company policy. And it’s not just computers that need switching off – lights and other gadgets should also be turned off at the end of each working day.