Nine Easy Ways To Go Green At Work

22 Feb 2019 | 09.00 am

Nine Easy Ways To Go Green At Work

Walking, recycling and more plants — or a Green Action Group

22 Feb 2019 | 09.00 am

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Looking for ways to make your business ‘greener’ in 2019? Small steps can make all the difference, and it’s easy to make small changes in your company. Around the office there are lots of ways to go green and make a difference. Here are a few ideas from SSE Airtricity to get you started

Consider changing your commute

How do you and your team get to work? If you drive, could you cycle or walk instead? Lots of workplaces even provide shower facilities for employees who opt to work up a sweat rather than sit in traffic. Think of the fitness benefits! Walking or cycling might let you skip the gym at the other end.

If it’s too far to walk or cycle, why not take a look at public transport? You may be eligible for a Taxsaver commuter ticket, saving yourself money and an often endless search for parking. If driving is the only practicable option, perhaps someone in your workplace is willing to car-share.

Bring the outdoors in

Go green, literally, by introducing plants to the workplace. Plants help clean the air by removing impurities and they go a long way to brightening up a drab environment. Many indoor plants need to be watered only once a week, and studies have shown that indoor plants significantly reduce workplace stress and improve productivity.

Plants like light, but if your office is on the dark side don’t worry, as some varieties can get by regardless. For example, the peace lily looks beautiful, cleans the air and doesn’t need a lot of light to thrive. Bonus Green Tip: feed your indoor plants with used coffee grounds.

Switch to recycled paper

Next time stationery is being ordered, make sure the label says recycled paper instead of recyclable paper. Double-check the green credentials of the products you use most at work and don’t be swayed by buzzwords such as eco-friendly. Do your research. Where possible, order from local producers to reduce your carbon footprint.

Press pause when printing

Thanks to the wonders of file-sharing services, it’s easier than ever to collaborate online and cut down on paper. When you absolutely have to print a document, make sure your printer is set to ‘print both sides’. There’s no need to hand out printed PowerPoint slides to attendees at a presentation. Attach them in an email afterwards if anyone wants them.

Go online instead of on the road

While travelling for work might sound enticing, the reality can be more mundane. Sometimes you have to be there in person, but most of the time you don’t. Luckily, there’s an eco-friendly solution at your fingertips. Go green by embracing video and web conferencing when you can, to cut down on travel miles and expense. Apps such as Skype and Google Hangouts are used by companies around the world to conduct meetings and interviews. Easy-to-use and often free, they can make a big dent in your company’s carbon footprint.

Go ‘au naturel’

Are you relying on artificial light when you need not? Save on electricity costs and help the environment by making the most of the natural light in your office. This might be as easy as moving desks closer to the window, and consider natural light when planning the office redesign. Glass panels allow natural light to travel further through the office building, so make a case for replacing interior walls with glass.

Collect compost

Set up a small compost bin in the kitchen and encourage colleagues to use it for food waste. One of your green-fingered friends is sure to appreciate the contribution to their vegetable plot. In addition, the office compost bin could always mark the start of a work veggie garden.

Shut down at the end of the day

When it’s time to go home, remember to turn off your computer. Leaving computers on overnight, even in sleep mode, can drain electricity and battery power. Plug out the printer when you’re not using it; the same goes for the scanner.

Using a single power strip for all your appliances makes it easier to switch everything off simultaneously. Modify the settings on your devices to allow them to go to sleep when inactive after a certain period of time, but don’t forget to turn them off at the end of the day.

No thanks to single-use plastics

If you have lunch at work every day, invest in a set of cutlery, a coffee cup, a plate and a bowl. Bring your own cup when you stop off at a café to get your takeaway coffee. Many coffee shops now offer a discount if you produce a reusable cup.

Now, what next?

All the steps outlined here are small, but you’ll be surprised at the difference they make, and at how your behaviour can influence others. If your colleagues are intrigued by your eco-friendly ways, talk to them about setting up a Green Action Group in the workplace to have a say in housekeeping decisions, such as supplier choice and building design. Small steps can make a big difference where your company’s carbon footprint is concerned. Good luck going green!

SSE Airtricity is Ireland’s largest provider of greener business energy. Visit sseairtricity.com/business or call 1850 40 40 80 for a quick quote.

 

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