6 Easy Ways to Make Your Office More Environmentally Friendly

You care about the environment, but you feel like you aren’t doing enough, or you just want to get more people involved. Where better to go green than where you spend most of your days? Going green in your office is a great way to double down on your commitment to being environmentally conscious. You may even be able to get the whole office or company involved!

Getting your office and company to become involved in environmentally friendly practices is more than just badgering your coworkers to recycle. Although that might work, it also might give you an annoying reputation around the office. If your company has a sustainability or environmental department, start there to see what practices they already have in place and volunteer suggestions for other steps they can take that they may not already be doing. If your company is smaller, or doesn’t have a dedicated department, it does now – you! Take these 6 easy steps to making your office more environmentally friendly!

1) Stop Using K-Cups

K-Cups are terrible. Absolutely terrible. In 2014, enough K-Cups were thrown away to circle the globe more than 10 times. Even the inventor of K-Cups regrets his invention. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to using a Keurig or other coffee pod machine.

  1. Old fashioned coffee pot (Come on, enough people drink coffee to make a pot, and if not, just make less! And if you’re in SUCH a rush that you can’t wait for a pot to brew, then let the adrenaline of your rush wake you up!)
  2.  No, seriously. Use a coffee pot! And compost those grounds!
  3. Reusable coffee pods. (Thankfully there are now reusable pods where you can just fill a pod with coffee grounds and make a single cup. If your pod machine doesn’t come with one, they are cheap to buy online.
  4. Recyclable pods. (Some pods can have the plastic container separated from the coffee grounds part and the plastic bottom recycled. Yes, you have to peel the bottom off after you’ve made the coffee, but is that really too much to ask?)

That list is in the order you should actually consider. Consider if you actually CAN’T use a coffee pot, and if not try the reusable and then the recyclable. With all of those options, there really is no reason why you should be purchasing, using, and disposing of coffee pods that can’t be recycled.

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Inform your management about the environmental impact of single pod machines and ask them to replace the pod machine with a coffee brewer or purchase reusable or recyclable pods. Coffee pots and a single time purchase for a reusable pod container will definitely save money, and don’t be afraid to use finances as an incentive.

2) Bring a Mug and Water Bottle

Plastic or paper water cups are so needlessly harmful they should be illegal. With the millions upon millions of cups, glasses, water bottles, and coffee mugs there are in the world, why are we still using disposable cups to drink anything? Especially if it’s your workplace. Next time you go to work simply bring a coffee mug and a water bottle or additional cup. And every day you don’t just think about the millions upon millions of people who continue to throw away single use cups for a single gulp of water.

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Ask management if they could stop buying disposable cups and instead purchase mugs for the company. If you work in a small office, it’s not a huge request for everyone to wash out their mug after using it, and a large company may want or already have cleaners coming to do dishes.

3) Bring a Reusable Utensil

Say no to plastic utensils. If you eat at work or if you get take-out, don’t grab a plastic fork, knife, or spoon (or anything else). Bring some utensils with you from home, including a nifty three-in-one utensil. Same as with the cups, for something we have plenty of, i.e. reusable utensils, we should not be throwing so many plastic utensils away just to end up killing a sea turtle or bird.

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Ask management to stop buying plastic utensils. (At this point they should get the idea). It’s cheaper for them in the long run, and better for our planet in the long run as well.

4) Recycle

If your company has recycling, Great! Use it! If not, don’t just throw your recyclable materials away! Keep a trash can by your desk and put a sign on it so people know it is for recyclable materials only! You may even end up motivating your fellow employees to start thinking before throwing their own recyclables away. At the end of every week (or as soon as it fills up), take the recyclables home with you or to your nearest recycling facility.

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Ask them to start recycling! Some businesses actually get tax credits for recycling, and others do it because it’s the right thing to do. Having your company recycle may be as simple as ordering a recycle bin or hiring another company to handle most of the work. Besides tax incentives, the company may benefit from the profits of recycling centers.

5) Carpool

Find out if anyone you work with lives near you and has a similar schedule and ask them if they would like to carpool. You get the benefits of paying less for gas and get to speed by in the carpool lane! (You also get the conscious benefit of knowing you’re doing your part to help out the environment.) I know we all think we are so busy, and changing our schedules is sacrilege, but consider if it actually would not be life-shattering if you arrived or left a little later than normal. Some people actually have appointments they can’t miss, so maybe you can only carpool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it’s better than nothing!

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Ask your company if they have a carpooling service, and if not, ask if they could send an email out supporting the initiative! At a large enough company there are sure to be enough people living close enough for it to work.

6) Reduce Paper Waste

Don’t print out things that don’t need to be printed. Don’t have mailings sent to you that other people in the office also receive. Get your paychecks deposited directly in your bank. The list goes on. Think before you print, and get anything you can sent electronically!

Bonus: Get Your Company Involved

Ask your company to make it a company policy. There are so many examples out there to follow, that setting up a simple procedure would not be too difficult. The policy could prohibit the printing of emails or documents that don’t need to be printed, it could require shredding and recycling of all printed materials, and they could include a footnote in company signatures to consider the environment before printing the email.

Get Started Today

There are certainly other steps you can take to make your office more environmentally friendly, but the bottom line is that nothing will happen if you don’t take the first step. These are 6 very easy steps which you can try to implement for yourself at first, and then after realizing how easy they are, you can try talking to management or your co-workers. We can all make a difference if we all work together. So go to work and go green!

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