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FEATURE: Greening Your Office – Part 2

By on August 18, 2009 in Office Environment

Sustainability and waste management tips.

Here are some tips to keep your office green and lower its running costs at the same time.

  • Get your colleagues on board with the whole sustainability thing. Reducing consumption leaves more money in your business’ coffers and will extend the life of the business. (And human civilization may not die out after all!)
  • Get into the habit of asking yourself whether you really need to use something and imagine new uses for stuff before it goes in the bin.
  • Turn off lights, computers and other office machines when not in use.
  • Encourage colleagues to adapt to changing temperatures by putting on or removing clothing rather than turning up the heating or air conditioning.
  • When ordering stationery and other office supplies, try to make less frequent but bigger orders. The green argument is that bigger and fewer orders require less transport and sometimes less packaging. The business argument is that buying in bulk is cheaper in terms of per unit cost and shipping charges.
  • Buy big packets of sugar, coffee and other tea-time consumables rather than boxes of small sachets which not only produce needless, sometimes not biodegradable waste but also require more energy to manufacture.
  • For similar reasons, avoid “disposable” items like plastic cutlery. Or at least don’t take the disposable moniker at face value and reuse when possible.
  • Change printer settings to save on printer cartridge ink and Paper. If documents are for internal or informal purposes only, use “draft” mode, squeeze on more pages per sheet and print on both sides of the Paper.
  • Purchase well-made and perhaps more expensive products if, in the long run, these will outlast cheaper alternatives and cost less by avoiding replacements.
  • There are loads of other ways to make sure your business doesn’t take a toll on the environment that make economic sense. But always remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Useful sites for sustainable offices

  • Envirowise is a government-supported organisation that offers free and independent consultation and advice on environmental issues to UK businesses. Issues covered include legislation, waste management and behaviour change.
  • Recycling guide provides practical advice on how to recycle at home, in schools and at the workplace.
  • ActionAid Recycling offers UK-wide free collection of printer cartridges and mobile phones for recycling. Funds raised support charitable programmes run by ActionAid. Oxfam, The British Red Cross and Help The Aged run similar toner and inkjet recycling schemes to raise money for their causes.
  • The government-funded Carbon Trust helps businesses reduce carbon emissions and take advantage of the commercial opportunities of low carbon technologies.
  • Truck Locator has a useful guide to vehicle fuel efficiency.

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