12 Tips for Going Green in the Workplace
Going green in the workplace is all about doing your part to protect the environment. But it’s also good for a company’s reputation and for everyone’s morale and health. In some cases, sustainable practices can help protect confidential information too.
Here are 12 ways to make the workplace more sustainable – and secure – during Earth Month and all year long.
- PRINTERS: It’s still a habit to print documents to read them. Plus, about 30% of print jobs are never collected. To stop wasting paper and avoid risking a data breach, encourage digital work habits. Instead of individual printers have printer stations with password control and ‘pull printing’ (the user has to activate a print job at the printer). Also, use double-sided printing and use a smaller font to get more copy on a page.
- LIGHTING: Maximize daylight by opening blinds where possible. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer. Any new lighting should be energy efficient LED lamps. Install motion-activated light switches, and don’t leave lights on at night.
- AIR: Provide good ventilation (open windows when possible) and add plants to the workspace — they filter the air too.
- REDUCE GARBAGE:Replace individual garbage cans (under employees’ desks) with a small number of centrally located general waste bins – along with a much higher ratio of specialty recycling bins for plastics and cans.
- RECYCLING: Provide labeled sturdy bins for municipally-collected recyclables, and partner with a document destruction company that installs locked consoles for the collection and safe storage of paper documents to be shredded. After secure on- or off-site destruction, the company will bundle the confetti-like pieces and send it to a recycling depot. The company should also provide hard drive and e-media destruction, with all of these materials being securely recycled after destruction too.
- ORGANIZATION: Implement a Clean Desk Policy for a tidier and more organized workplace. At the end of every work day, desk tops and computer screens must be cleared and important documents locked away. This policy will help encourage employees to reduce paper use.
- SUPPLIES: Purchase green supplies such as recycled copy paper, bathroom supplies, and toner and ink cartridges. Replace toxic cleaners with green biodegradable products. Buy hand soap and cleaners in boxes (in bulk) instead of plastic bottles.
- SUPPLIERS: Supply chain environmentalism is a growing trend. Review sustainable materials and best practices to source green suppliers in your industry, and ensure any third-party vendors align with your sustainability policy.
- LUNCH ROOM: With the average office worker using about 500 disposable cups a year, outlaw plastic and provide reusable mugs and other dishes. Purchase fair trade teas and coffee.
- CARBON FOOTPRINT: Create a carbon footprint reduction strategy, and consider buying carbon offsets from a certified provider.
- COMMUTING: The most recent Urban Mobility Scorecard showed that traffic congestion wasted more than 3 billion gallons of fuel. Encourage carpooling, public transit, biking, and walking – for cleaner air, reduced energy use, and better health.
- TELECOMMUTING: Working from home (and flex-time) will cut time and energy spent commuting. Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other tools support telecommuting.
For more tips on how to improve security and sustainability, check out the other blogs in Shred-it's Earth Month series: