Whether it’s a new directive coming down from your boss’s boss, or you have recently become impassioned to save the planet, one plastic fork at a time, going green is an excellent money and planet saver. Not only can you save a few extra bills every month, but you can encourage yourself and your employers to start some new healthier practices. Going green can help promote your business, give you tax breaks, and can extend past the office and into your home. Customers in this market are concerned about where their products come from and how they are made, and more so than ever, are looking for eco-friendly products. Consumer consciousness isn’t the only reason, though, efficiency is something that all businesses strive for in the industry, and going green is perhaps the fastest way to increasing your efficiency. When you are ready to think green there are, in our book, three major R’s and two little R’s to pay attention to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and out of reuse, rethink, and repair. In this article, we will cover a few tips on how to do this not only in your office but in your home.
Let’s first tackle reducing as a part of changing how your office and home space can go “greener”. Perhaps one of the easiest things to do, across the board, is a reduction in paper towels, especially in kitchens. Whether it’s a small office kitchen or a well-loved home kitchen, buying heaps of paper towels and then trashing after one use is a big waste. In a way that reduces both paper and electricity use, assess if you really need to be printing as much as you are, and look towards a cutting edge future of going digital. If the idea of reducing your electrical bill catches your attention, consider asking your employees to eliminate your screen savers and have your monitors power off after a set amount of time. Do you work or live in an area with big lofty windows and plenty of natural light? Use it to reduce your electricity bill even lower! If you are just starting your business and looking for spaces, consider the windows as a part of the decision. A final tip to easily reduce your bill is to install motion sensors in your office, so the light stays off if no one is in the room. In the same vein, order appropriate amounts of food for office parties or catered events, and try to buy local and organic if possible. This way you are not throwing away lots of food at the end of events and you are creating a healthy office in its purchasing and consuming practices.
Now that we have reduced our electricity and paper products, we can talk about reusing what is already in our business and our homes instead of just throwing away. This R covers rethinking and repairing. Instead of just buying new things, or throwing away all of our obsolete technologies. A quick Google engine search will help us rethink and repurpose old materials. Do you have lots of fragile items delivered, and end up with heaps of bubble wrap that you are constantly throwing away? Bring it home or reuse it to protect your portable screens and technology with the left over wrap instead of tossing it away. Take home binders and organizational tools to help with your own organization. Are you into cooking? Use them to organize recipes or have your kids take them to school. The best way to utilize reusing and repurposing is getting your staff involved in how you make old items useful again. Host a repurposing challenge month and get your employees to vote on who repurposes best. This way not only are your staff members getting invested in going green, but they are also creating ways to reuse and save money!
If you are living in a country that is big on this last R then you have probably already heard about recycling and how it helps the environment. Nowadays it goes so much further than just recycling. You can sort out plastics, glasses, paper, cardboard, food waste, and so much more. Instead of having your employees scratch their head at the waste bins every trip, create a color coding system on each bin so that they associate waste with a color for fast disposal. While it may seem like a lot to consider sorting, having these different bins not only shows that your company is authentic in your desire to create a sustainable environment, but can actually save you time and money in the long run. Make sure to advertise these different bins and encourage your customers to do the same. The United States has a huge problem with trash being incorrectly disposed of, and limiting the amount of sorting at disposal sites can have huge environmental impacts. Another great initiative to have less waste and help with the recycling program is banning or limiting plastic water bottles or plastic forks and knives. Invest in glasses or encourage employees to bring their own utensils into the office so that you can reduce before you even get to recycling.
It may seem like a lot of new initiatives at first, but going green in your office and home can save money and make both your place and employees healthier and happier. Some additional tips include buying greener cleaning products and encouraging bike and walk to work days. You can also brighten up the office and your employee morals, by buying some plants to literally green your space and absorb some pollutants in the air. Just make sure that someone with a green thumb takes care of these new additions! What is important to having an authentic message, is that you don’t stop in the office with your greening efforts, you should continue this into your home. Going green is a great way to generate new business, but customers will see through band-aid-like solutions to greening your office. Enjoy your new green office and home and help promote employees’ personal stake in your new plans.