You don’t need to be a sustainability or environmental expert to start making change in your office. We all have to start somewhere, so here’s some really simple ways you can ‘green’ your workplace with very little effort, but very real results!
Related content: 'Going green': A guide for NZ businesses
1. Power down
We all know the drill. We’ve been educated to turn lights off when we leave a room, and while it may be a common practice at home, often these good habits don’t come with us as we enter the workplace. Those seemingly small habits of switching bathroom lights off when you leave, ensuring technology has power-save mode activated or low-energy standby functions, really do make a difference in cutting energy usage.
Another great idea is to ask yourself if you even need those lights on? Spend some time looking where natural light filters into your office. Try to make use of that light and even better - when the sun is shining make the most of the sun’s heat to prevent you turning on the heat pump, floor or wall heaters. And if you do have a heat pump or air conditioner, clean the filters regularly to keep it running efficiently and effectively.
The best thing about these ideas is that they are free! They can be implemented today with zero cost to your business.
2. Kick the habit
A lot of how we run and manage meetings is built out of habit. For example, taking a pad a pen or sharing docs and presentations on paper. While there will be times where you need to share that physical example, why not instruct regular team meetings be paper free!
3. Create a dedicated recycling spot
Whilst placing a used milk bottle into a recycling bin doesn’t seem difficult, you want to make it easy for employees to make a good decision about their waste. Have a spot that’s dedicated to recycling, including clear signage that tells people where to place plastics, organics and other waste. Or go a step further and encourage people to not recycle at all (yes, you read right) - instead choose to reuse items like coffee cups, water bottles and food wraps.
4. Bring the outdoors in
Humans have an innate connection with nature and the outdoors, so it’s no surprise really that indoor plants and trees have a range of psychological benefits as well as cleaning the air! In a more traditional office environment where air may become stagnant, plants can help remove air pollutants.
And while we’re on the topic of pollution, plants are also known to reduce noise pollution which is why we often see planting on our motorways, particularly where residential housing is close by. The same concept can be applied to offices; for example, as ‘living’ walls or as a means to absorb wooden or concrete flooring noise.
Plus some research even suggests that having plants within eyesight improves your mood and boosts productivity!
5. Choose partners and suppliers who care
If you’re serious about making a positive difference to the world we live in, then spend some time looking at your partners and suppliers and see if their environmental values align with your own.
Businesses that build partnerships which support their desire to reduce carbon emissions, or waste going to landfill (for example) can inspire other companies to do the same.
Here are some things to look out for when searching for the right partner:
- Environmental Choice NZ certified
The NZ Government’s official environmental label recognises the effort of manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of its products.
- CarboNZero certification
This certification recognises an organisation’s ongoing pledge to manage, reduce and offset carbon emissions. Brother NZ was the first print brand in New Zealand to achieve this certification.
- ISO standards
ISO 14001 is an international standard that provides requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). Rather than establishing performance requirements, it provides a framework that organisations can follow.
- Environmental Design Awards
Look for brands that are standouts in their respective categories. Brother products are often winners in the Good Design and IF Design Awards, which recognised great all round design including aesthetics, usability, consideration for the environment and benefit to society.
- A Managed Print Services provider who includes recycling
Brother MPS provides free recycling for businesses’ hardware and consumables, and has all of the above environmental accreditations.
Want to learn more about going green through print in your workplace? Download our free guide ‘How to succeed at sustainability’ now.