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13 tips to become more environmentally friendly at the office

It is no secret that we all could improve ourselves a little when it comes to being environmentally friendly. Many of the things we do each day are bad for the environment and worst of all, we know it, but still don't act on it. So why don't we just fix it and become better people? Why not just make the changes and help the world become a better place? Some scientists say it's because we are afraid that a change would require lots of work or even make our day harder. Others might say it's ignorance. 

The fact is that it's hard to just change habits we either grew up with or have lived with for many years and in this article, we won't be trying to change those, so breathe out and let your shoulders down. Instead, we found some effective but easy ways you can become more environmentally friendly at your office.

1# Conserve energy at the office.

If you take a tour around most offices during a summer day you will see all lights running on 100% despite lots of sunlight, the air conditioner set to high, computer screens and tv's running even though no one is using them and lots more. The office is one of those places where we can easily improve energy conversation. 

Some easy ways to conserve energy at the office is to install LED lights and turn them off when they aren't needed. You can also turn off electronics that aren't being used and set the air conditioning to run a few degrees hotter, maybe even turn it off and open the windows instead. Alone turning off a tv that is running all day will quickly save bucks on the electricity bill. Most flatscreens today use between 120watts and 180watts, which means you will have used between 120-180kw in 1000 hours. 

2# Promote a paperless office.

One thing that is still being used way too much today is paper. We print emails, PDF's and much more just to throw it out a little later, but did you know that an average-sized tree only produces around 5000 A4 pages? 

If you take a moment to think about how much paper is being used at your office every year. The number might surprise you, but keep the thought and now try to think how many of those scenarios could have been handled digitally instead. Most if not all would have been able to be handled digitally instead, so why not promote a paperless office and save our forests? 

3# Use public transportation or a bicycle to and from the office.

For some people, this might be a tough one to change since they either live far from their work or have grown used to taking the car every day. But the fact is that commuting is better for the environment and taking the bicycle is even better. 

4# Embrace renewable energy at the office. 

Most people might not be aware of it or know it, but in some cities and countries, you can choose where you want your electricity from. Here in Gothenburg where we live, all electricity to private residences is 100% renewable, but companies have to actively choose renewable energy. If companies don't actively choose renewable energy they will be presented with coal, nuclear or other types of electricity. 

Choosing 100% renewable energy at your office is a small change to make in your subscription plan but a huge impact environmentally. All of a sudden everything in your office is powered by sun, wind, or water instead of fossil fuels, nuclear, etc. 

5# Create monthly green challenges with your colleagues. 

There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition and maybe you can even create small fun prices for the one that wins. A monthly challenge could be to see who can be the greenest at the office and for tracking each of your progress you can use an app. When the month is over you can compare everyone's results and announce the winner.

Here are some examples of things you can compete about:

  • Who is using the least electricity: Attach a device to calculate how much electricity each desk station is using and by the end of the month you compare to see who has been using the least.
  • Who uses the least paper: Find a way to see who is using the least paper for a month.

6# Eliminate paper towels from the office.

It is undeniably one of the worst things in Scandinavia. We use paper towels for things such as toilet visits, cleaning, wiping our hands, blowing our noses, and much much more. So one great way to make your office more environmentally friendly is to eliminate paper towels from the office completely. 

Instead of paper towels, you can hang up real towels or even use an efficient hand-dryer.

7# Unsubscribe from mailing lists.

That receiving lots of random emails is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ways to become more environmentally friendly. A study has shown that the average U.S citizen has around 500 unread junk mails in their inbox, and if we assume that an average text-based email emits 4 grams of carbon dioxide, then that will be around 2KG of carbon dioxide. It is estimated that a yearly use of emails is equal to around 150KG of carbon dioxide. That is equal to driving 200 miles in an average gas-powered car. 

So a great way to become more environmentally friendly is to start emptying your inbox and unsubscribing to emails you don't read.

8# Start recycling waste at the office.

You might have noticed that you at the office throw away papers once they are used instead of recycling them, or maybe lots of people are throwing away their lunch instead of recycling it. One great thing to do is to start recycling some of the waste you produce at the office.

Paper can be sorted and then given to the recycling station where they will turn it into new paper, and food can in many cities be recycled and turned into natural gas or green gas for public transportation.

9# Buy Eco-friendly office supplies.

The next time you need to buy new office supplies you can try out eco-friendly solutions such as refillable pens, recycled paper, second-hand cutlery, and so on. Almost everything that you buy for your office can be switched out with either a second-hand alternative or an eco-friendly option.

10# Turn off electronic devices when not in use at the office.

At many offices people usually let electronic devices be turned on when they are not in use, cause after all they are not the ones paying the electricity bill so why care, right? A great way to save electricity at the office is to simply turn off the devices that aren't being used, so that means turning off the TV in the reception, turning off your computer when you leave the office, turning off the coffee machine, turning off the light and open the blindfolds and so on.

Another great way of doing this is to make the electronics do it for you. You can install Philips Hue lights at the office and add automatic functions that will turn off the lights when the sun is up, and turn them on once it gets dark. You can also add smart thermostats to help you adjust the heating and keep it comfortable but environmentally friendly.

11# Telecommute to the office whenever it is possible.

If there is one thing we have learned from COVID-19, then it is that working from home is possible for many people, and in many cases, it is more environmentally friendly than going to the office. Most people have to either commute or take the car to and from work, and that causes pollution.

So we suggest that, whenever it is possible, you should work from home and save the unnecessary pollution to and from work.

12# Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

This tip is not only better for the environment but also for your own health. If you work in IT chances are you probably don't move much during the day, so taking the stairs could actually help you exercise more. 

Besides improving your overall physics it also lowers the electricity bill by saving the trips up and down the building.

13# Use non-toxic cleaning products at the office.

The last tip on the list is to switch out all of the toxic cleaning products you have at the office. Many products that come from the store are directly bad for your health and for the environment. Instead, you can choose one of the options in the supermarket that has been labeled with environmentally friendly branding. 

Studies have shown that environmentally friendly non-toxic cleaning products aren't worse than any of the other toxic cleaning products when it comes to showing results.

Wrapping up

You have now been presented with 13 great and easy tips on how to become more environmentally friendly at the office and we hope it inspired you. If you have additional tips to add or other comments to this article, please feel free to add them at the bottom of this article.