By Stephanie King, EarthTalk
Photo: Jesus Corrius, Flickr CC
August 28, 2019 (San Diego) - As we become more educated about our impact on the natural world, more and more of us are looking to try and lower our environmental footprint. We might make the switch (at least partially) to a plant-based diet. We might walk to places we previously drove to. We might avoid taking holidays abroad.
Given that we spend such a large portion of our time at work, even small steps taken in the office can add up to significant savings as far as the environment is concerned. Let’s take a look at a few simple changes we can make to the office that’ll keep it as eco-friendly as possible.
Put simply, the less power that your office uses, the less natural resources it’ll consume, and the lower the amount of CO2 it’ll cause to be released into the atmosphere.
Turning computers off when they’re not in use is an obvious step. We can achieve this either through automation – so that computers automatically switch off if unattended for a certain amount of time – or through procedure. Some combination of the two is usually effective.
The same can be said of other electrical items around the office, like lights and fans. Attaching these to timers, light detectors and motion sensors will ensure that they’re not active when they shouldn’t be.
Certain sorts of computer, fan and light-bulb use inherently less power than others, and so often making a simple upgrade can yield fantastic results. Instruct your IT department to make any appropriate software changes to optimise power consumption.
Many offices will put out thousands of documents every year. All of this means trees need to be felled, and power consumed in printing. All of that toner, after all, comes from somewhere. One solution is to simply print fewer documents – and this is something that most forward-thinking workplaces are already trying to do.
When documents (and other recyclable materials) are finished with, it’s critical that they find their way to the recycling bin. This means having the recycling bins available and having procedures in place so that it can be regularly taken to the appropriate facility. Sensitive documents should be shredded prior to disposal.
Finally, we should consider the value of minimizing outlay on new equipment. The more often you buy new stuff, the less use you’re going to get out of it. Offices which fix things which might otherwise be thrown away will be environmentally superior to those which fork out for replacement computer systems regularly. Moreover, when replacement furniture and computer hardware needs to be brought in, office managers might save a packet, and reduce their environmental impact, by going second-hand.