Making eco-friendly changes to your office positively affects all types of business operations, from the way you tidy to the way that you recycle electronics. While some changes might be small, they make a substantial difference over time. Below are just a few simple methods of improving your office's sustainability.
1. Stop Using Disposable Utensils, Silverware, and Cups
One simple way to save money and the planet is to purchase reusable silverware. This is an effective method of cutting down on waste that accumulates during company events. Using disposable silverware creates unnecessary paper and plastic waste that adds up quickly.
Gone are the days of the small plastic cups stacked by the water cooler. Encouraging employees to buy their own coffee mugs and reusable water bottles is another great way to cut back on waste. In addition to helping the environment, having employees bring in their favorite mug or bottle provides them with an opportunity to show off their personalities. Purchasing mugs or bottles for the company with your business's logo on them is a fantastic way to show pride in your company while making an effort to be a friend to the environment. Having a refillable water bottle also encourages workers to stay healthy and hydrated and discourages them from purchasing sugary drinks at the vending machine.
2. Make Recycling Easy
Recycling is an obvious way to make your workspace greener, but plenty of people are still unsure of what is meant to be recycled and what is meant to be tossed into a garbage can. Make the rules clear-cut in any way possible. Make sure your bins are easily identifiable — whether they be color-coordinated, marked with signs, or both. Having signs next to your garbage and recycling bins that inform people what materials should be recycled is a big help.
Sending out reminder emails about what goes where and briefly mentioning it in meetings here and there ensures that all employees are confident about when to recycle. Additionally, find out whether or not your facility participates in composting. If not, look into third-party composting services nearby.
3. Be Conscious of the Thermostat
Keeping the thermostat at a higher temperature keeps money in your pocket and saves on energy. Many offices keep their temperatures lower 365 days out of the year. You'll notice workers wearing sweatshirts and cardigans even in the summer heat. Perhaps opt to increase the air conditioning system temperature little by little to see what employees are comfortable at. The answer may surprise you, and you'll wonder how you ever kept the office so cold.
4. Have a Designated Sustainability Team
If you don't already have a specific green team within your company, it's time to round up a group of passionate individuals. Many businesses focus only on their financial goals and missions, but it's important in today's society to be environmentally conscious. Having a sustainability task force come up with specific initiatives makes a big difference in waste management and employee morale. People feel good knowing that they work for a company that cares about more than just dollars and cents. Hosting meetings that discuss the company's environmental impact doesn't eat a lot of time and many businesses find that saving the environment also saves them money in the long run.
5. Quit Throwing Away Unused Ink and Toner Cartridges
Are you used to throwing away unused toner cartridges? Work with Ink Genie! According to the International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, offices throw over 375 million toner and ink cartridges into the garbage every year. Most of these end up in landfills. About a gallon of oil is needed to produce each new toner cartridge, according to Evolverecyling.com. If you find that your office has accumulated an abundance of unused ink or toner cartridges, don't toss them into the garbage! We are happy to take them off your hands — we'll even pay you for them!
Through our Ink Genie BuyBack Program, we pay you for what would be your trash. The process is simple. First, download and fill out our buyback form. Then upload the form and some pictures to the buyback page here to receive a quote. After you accept our quote, send in your unused products. Once we've received your cartridges, we'll send some money your way. Alternatively, you can get paid in Ink Genie credit. We're dedicated to making a difference in the world one cartridge at a time.
6. Let There Be Natural Light
Working in an office with larger windows or skylights saves an abundance of energy. In addition to relying on natural light, switching to LED lightbulbs is a simple way to make a big difference. Using smart power strips at each workstation and installing light sensors or timers to minimize energy usage are also recommended.
Incorporating more natural light doesn't just benefit the environment. Study after study proves that natural light increases worker productivity. According to Eco Business, workplaces that have an ample amount of sunlight saw an increase between 5 and 40% in productivity and sales. Natural light keeps people awake, keeps them generally happier, and keeps them sufficiently healthier. Even if you don't have wall-to-wall windows, simply having desks closer to the windows can boost employees' spirits.
7. Invest in High-Quality Products
While buying green electronics is great, sustainable products aren't always accessible. You may not have the budget to consistently purchase ecological products, but you might be able to invest in high-quality products that will stand the test of time. Buying products like reliable computers will eliminate future waste. The longer you can go without throwing away electronics and creating more waste, the better. When you do decide it's time to get rid of electronics, do it intentionally. Look into electronic recycling or donate them if they're still in working condition.
Treating your electronics well will increase their lifespan. Using high-quality ink in your printer will keep it running longer. Getting regular maintenance done on electronics as needed means you don't need to replace them prematurely.
8. Bring Greenery Into the Workspace
Bringing plant life into your workspace is a fantastic way to upgrade your decor and improve air quality. Researching plants that increase air quality is sure to be a worthy investment of your time. Better air quality means healthier employees and greener living — literally and metaphorically.
English ivies, spider plants, snake plants, and aloe vera are just a few common household plants that filter the air. They're also not too difficult to take care of. These green buddies will absorb negative things found in the air such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and more and turn them into clean, breathable, oxygen.
9. Don't Leave Electronics on Overnight
Encourage employees to turn off all electronics prior to leaving their workstation for the night in order to save on electricity. If you would like to take things a step further, some businesses have a "Green Jar" where someone has to deposit money, should they forget to turn their devices off before leaving the office. Appoint someone specific to turn off shared electronics such as the printer and the copier.
It's never too late to adopt new methods of decreasing waste. We at Ink Genie would be happy to help your office achieve its sustainability goals by taking in your unused ink and toner cartridges. We've saved over 100,000 boxes from going into landfills so far. Contact us today to learn more about this program and how you can participate!