The big decisions about making offices more environmentally friendly – such as thermostat control, recycling receptacles and energy-efficient lighting – come from the top. But you can still do your bit to make a huge impact on creating a sustainable workplace. Here are our top tips.
Walk, cycle or use public transport
The first step you take to contributing to a greener workplace may well involve using your own legs. According to the latest statistics, some 78 per cent of Australians travel to work by private motor vehicle, spending on average 53 minutes a day on the road – driving up petrol emissions, traffic congestion and stress levels. Help reverse the trend by walking, riding or taking a bus or train. If you truly can’t avoid using your car, consider carpooling networks like ShareURride, Coseats or Carpool Club: you can make new friends and reduce your carbon footprint.
Take the stairs
Once you get to work, ditch the lift. You’ll not only help save your building’s energy costs, you’ll do wonders for your own energy levels and your health – walking upstairs is excellent kilojoule-burning cardio activity.
BYO lunch, dishes, cutlery and reusable coffee cup
You can make a significant reduction in waste and packaging by bringing food you prepared yourself at home. And whether you drink coffee, tea or chai, investing in a reusable cup means you won’t be contributing to the one billion coffee cups piling up in landfill each year.
It would be great to go completely paperless, but let’s face it, printing is often a necessity. Help cut your paper use in half by using double-sided printing whenever you can. Also, reduce the margins on your Word documents from the default by just a few millimetres – that tiny adjustment can still save a lot of trees. And, of course, make sure you always put used paper in the recycling bin.
Shut down your computer
You may not realise it, but leaving your computer in ‘standby’ or ‘sleep’ mode at the end of the day continues to draw power. You can also switch off your screen saver so your screen just goes blank (ask IT for help if you can’t do it yourself). And don’t forget to use your ‘energy saving’ mode during the day.
Get a plant for your desk
It will not only spruce up your workspace, an indoor plant will act as your own personal air purifier, absorbing toxins and pollutants, boosting oxygen levels and cooling temperatures. There’s a formula: one medium-sized plant (up to 50cm) in a four-by-five-metre space can improve air quality by up to 25 per cent.
Own a small business? Here are more tips for going green.