office waste

How to reduce your office’s carbon footprint

By Kieron Casey

For many a green minded individual the time they spend at work and the time they spend at home could not be more different.

Whilst this can, of course, refer to the level of relaxation and comfort available it can also refer to their implementation of green practices and policies. At home many an eco-conscious individual will spend a far amount of time making sure all their waste is recycled in the proper fashion and that all unneeded electrical equipment is redeployed or given to a new home.

At work, however, many individuals find themselves in an environment where green measures take low priority. Recycling and sustainability are not often seen by business decision makers as high priority or a general mood of ambivalence surrounds this issue at the workplace. However, it is possible, with just a few small actions, to implement widespread changes.

Like most strategies the best area to begin trying to implement change is right at the top of this business in the hope good practices will become standards throughout the company and will trickle down.

Although management at companies are often busy and green issues may not be the number one item on their agenda it is certainly worth highlighting this area to them particularly if you can highlight ways in which green policy can save a company’s money.

A prime example is via the use of printers; many older printers take longer and use up more energy than their newer counterparts – replacing them with streamlined models can see an increase in productivity, better time management and a lower carbon emission.

Something as simple as switching all printers to utilizing both sides of paper as a default setting will similarly half waste paper which of course is as great for a person in a finance department to hear as it is for a green minded individual.

Another way in which printers can be made more environmentally suitable would be to check their cartridges; whilst some can be recycled others can not. Also it is worth noting that it takes the same raw materials to create a larger cartridge as it does a small one.

If it is possible to convince management of these measures perhaps try and suggest co-ordinating meetings to discuss environmental measures with other members of staff. Small suggestions such as a car pool scheme or cutting down on use of paper cups in favour of bringing water bottles to work can go a long way in cutting a carbon footprint substantially.

Also one of the many reasons a company may not be aware of the many ways it impacts upon the environment is due to an uncertainty; many businesses are not aware of how much they waste let alone how to improve their records.

One of the best ways to combat this is to put into practise a chart, similar to a financial one tracking a company’s fiscal losses and growths, which measures the companies green performances and their recycling strengths and weaknesses.

Once green practices are observed in such a fashion it is possible then for a company to see where they are going wrong, what areas need change and how plans can be set up to implement these.

Once a company has monitored what can and cannot be recycled, what constitutes waste that should be disposed of in the usual fashion and what should not, it can go about looking at ways to actually getting on with putting a proper recycling plan into action.

Based on a town’s local recycling habits and pick up times it is possible for a business to make plans around these. Yet, perhaps, the most important action a business can take is to ensure that appropriate waste bins are put in place; there should be appropriate and separate disposal units set up for plastic, glass, paper and other materials, which accumulate on a work premises. The bins should be clearly labelled and the staff should be made aware of which materials should be placed into which container.

Author Bio
Guest blogger Kieron Casey is a green minded, vegetarian, BA (Hons) Journalism graduate who lives in Bradford, United Kingdom and blogs regularly on subjects including IT equipment, the environment and green living. He is writing on behalf of Equanet.