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Go Green in Your Workplace

Posted on July 11th 2017 by Jess Warby.

 

In 2012, it was found that 1 in 8 people died world-wide (that’s 7 million) as a result of air pollution. [1] Imagine how big that number will be in 2022. London’s air is considered one of the dirtiest in Europe. Brixton Road in London actually breached its level of toxic nitrogen dioxide gas 19 times in the first 5 days of 2017! [2]
Our oceans suffer as well as our air quality.  We produce 30 million tonnes of plastics each year, around 8 millions of those tonnes are ending up in the ocean. [3]

These are just a few of the heart-breaking facts about the effects of pollution. There are so many more worrying things that are happening to our beautiful planet.
If we work together we can reverse some of the damage and keep our planet thriving for many generations to come.
Let’s look at what we can do in our workplaces to reduce the damage done to our planet by deciding to go green.

Air Pollution Reduction

We can start by tackling air pollution relating to the workplace. Minimise your driving; try arranging meetings via skype rather than driving to them. When this isn’t possible, commute using public transport. The U.K has great connections to major cities and towns via rail and bus. Suggest setting up a car sharing scheme to encourage your employees to not only reduce carbon emissions, but bond with their co-workers while travelling to work.
Get your company involved with healthy schemes like Cycle to Work Week. You’ll be cutting carbon emissions from cars and increasing physical activity! Walking or cycling to work are great for employees who spend a lot of time sat down at a desk. Show your commitment by installing new cycle shelters and changing rooms for those who want to join in.

Your eco office will benefit by bringing the outdoors in. Introducing plants into an office space improves air quality; plants create oxygen while eating up all the carbon dioxide we produce. Keep your air fresh by servicing air conditioning units regularly to ensure they’re in tip-top condition. Better air quality within your office will help keep your employees healthy. Bonus Tip: Don’t open your windows when the air conditioning is on. Having your windows open allows warm air to come back into the room, making the air conditioning work even harder! [4]

When you’re running an ecommerce service make sure you plan deliveries to be made efficiently. Is your company shipping a lot of products at once in the same area? Try and collate deliveries going to the same area and do one trip rather than multiple small journeys. Is it possible to walk to the post office and post small items yourself?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Let’s tackle waste within the workplace next. By giving your employees a break room you will encourage them to eat healthier, and bring food from home rather than eating out. Food brought from home will likely be carried in reusable lunch boxes or containers therefore reducing waste. Stocking your break room with reusable cutlery and crockery will reduce waste of plastic utensils.
By placing colour coordinating bins in your break room you will be able to separate food waste, plastic and other rubbish allowing for stress free recycling. Make sure you employ this recycling ethic throughout the workplace, ensuring general waste bins are always accompanied by recycling bins.

When sending out your products for delivery make them well packaged but eco-friendly. Use recycled cardboard boxes and shredded paper as cushioning instead of packing peanuts and reuse boxes from deliveries you’ve received.

If you can email it, don’t print it. Avoid using your printer and you’ll save a fortune on ink, energy and paper costs! Create a virtual signature to sign important contracts, offer customers virtual billing/invoices and and if you have to print make sure it’s double-sided! Don’t forget to take notes on laptops or tablets in meetings rather than paper to cut down on waste.

When your equipment is on its last legs and needs replacing remember to recycle appropriately. Things like batteries and electrical items aren’t going to decompose in landfills so make sure these are sent to the correct recycling facility. When sourcing new furniture for your workplace look for companies that use recycled or sustainable components.

Manage Your Energy

Save some money, save the planet! Reduce your energy bills by turning off and unplugging unused electrical items at the end of the day. Allow your computer to go into hibernation/sleep mode when you’ve been away for more than 5 minutes.

It’s a good idea to look at alternative sources for your energy supply. There are plenty of great comparison websites to help you to select a supplier that provides sustainable energy.
We know wind farms aren’t everyone’s favourite part of the landscape but they help save the planets resources. You can save the most money by installing solar panels on your roof to produce your own energy if you can. Suppliers that use fossil fuels and nuclear power to generate energy create lots of harmful waste. This in turn has a devastating effect on the planet.

Lighting eats up a lot of energy when it’s on and not needed. Why not install energy-saving light bulbs and consider sensors that detect movement and turn the lights on and off for you. If you’re choosing a space or relocating be sure to choose a somewhere that has a lot of natural light available. Natural light will save you on lighting costs and also help boost employees happiness and motivation.

If you’re working remotely, charge your laptop to full then unplug and use battery power. Over charging will waste electricity and damage an expensive battery. If your team uses laptops or tablets why not invest in a charging locker to reduce energy cost by charging from one source.

Opting for remote cloud storage rather than in-house may cost a little more but you benefit in many ways. Your storage is accessible remotely from wherever you are through a simple log in. Plus the heat coming from servers will no longer effect the IT office staff, giving them less need for air conditioning.

Every year we throw away more rubbish, more cars appear on the road and we invent more technology that needs more energy. If we all took on some of these measures our carbon foot print would shrink, and the planet would be able to repair itself. The current U.K average carbon footprint is 10 tonnes[4], we could easily bring this down by implementing a few changes in to our working lives.

Why not try to go green in your workplace?

 

[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
[2] https://www.foe.co.uk/clean-air/20-shocking-facts-about-air-pollution
[3] https://www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
[4]http://www.air-n-water.com/article/ac-mistake-leave-window-open.htm
[5] https://www.carboncalculator.co.uk/averages.php

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