Offices are extremely wasteful places. A huge amount of electricity is required to keep all those computers and lights running, a huge amount of water is required to keep everyone refreshed, and a huge amount of waste is generated every single day.
Though it might not yet be possible to curb this waste entirely, there are a number of ways to offset it, or to at least reduce it, making yours a greener office.
Here’s how to get started.
Even the smallest office can get through tonnes of paper each year. And in far too many offices, far too much of this paper just ends up in the bin.
If you want to make your office a greener place, you need to recycle a large proportion of your waste paper – somewhere in the region of, oh, 100% of it?
Luckily, there are numerous third party waste specialists out there who have the capacity to process huge volumes of waste paper and cardboard. They’ll collect directly from your premises, so there’s no need to worry about making repeated journeys to the tip.
They’ll even sort through your waste for you, so there’s no need to separate your metal, plastic, or paper in the office. Recycling becomes much easier – almost second nature – when all of your recyclables can go in the same container.
These companies will invariably charge a fee, of course, but it’s a small price to pay for the amount of money you’ll save on waste disposal, and the amount of goodwill you’ll generate in terms of PR and CSR.
And while we’re on the subject of recycling – like most offices, your company doubtlessly runs on coffee. You can make a huge reduction to the amount of waste you produce through simply encouraging your staff to use their own mugs, as opposed to plastic or paper cups. It’s just one small step to making it a greener office.
If you want to treat your staff to a more gourmet coffee experience, be careful which drinks machine you choose. Machines that use single-serve brewing pods are extremely wasteful, so be prepared to go the extra mile by choosing a more efficient bean to cup machine.
It never hurts to combine your recycling efforts with a bit of good old carbon offsetting.
Carbon offsetting is all about putting something back. Broadly speaking, it involves compensating for your carbon emissions through making a contribution to a low carbon economy.
Most of these companies even allow you to specify the sort of project you’d like to support – whether it’s tree planting, wildlife conservation, or international development.
We’ve already discussed encouraging your staff to stop using paper cups and to recycle all of their waste paper. But there are other behavioural changes that can be made in order to address your office’s overall carbon footprint.
Something as simple as instructing employees to switch off lights, computers, and other equipment when not in use, or to use public transport wherever possible all makes for a greener office.
But you can always go deeper. For example, if you run a company car scheme, provide a strong incentive to choose a more efficient car.
There’s also the cycle to work scheme. Take part in this and your employees can get a bike tax-free, spreading the cost while saving about 25% on its high street value.
And of course, if a large proportion of your workforce is cycling to and from work, your company’s carbon footprint’s going to take a huge hit.
If you want to start living greener, then that’s great! You can find out everything you need to know about recycling here.