Ideas For A Greener Workplace

ways to go green in the workplace

UK Business Still Wasteful

Even though the amount of recycling and energy efficient behaviour has risen in British homes, it seems that business is yet to follow suit. The size of the UK’s carbon footprint from commercial and industrial activities has actually risen since 2010, with annual output growing from 811 to 854 million tons. This rise seems to be in spite of the fact that the UK has moved to a more service based economy during this time, with much of our manufacturing production taking place in countries such as China.

Green Office Week

Fortunately people are taking notice and helping businesses become more ecologically aware. Take Green Office Week for instance, which ran last month on the 13th -17th May. This helps businesses become more aware of environmentally friendly issues through different advice days and the people behind it even go as far as handing out a free dummies guide. Of course, green issues in the workplace can’t all be cured in just five working days and it’s important to create a permanent working culture that embodies the three r’s of green activity, reduce, reuse and recycle.

No One Likes A Change

According to the people who put together the ISO 14000 standards certificate, which deals helping companies create their own environmental standards, the biggest challenge in greener workplace is overcoming people’s dislike of change. When your employees or co-workers have disposed of rubbish and waste in the same manner for years, it can be difficult to get people to buy into a new way of doing things. One of the easiest ways to help facilitate such change is to create a new process that’s more efficient and easier for your staff than the old way of doing things. It can be a good idea to add incentives to activities too, such as putting on office lunches or days out when targets are hit for the first time.

Looks Good On Paper

Even though paper is amongst one of the easiest materials to recycle it seems that in the UK we can’t get over our addiction to using paper in the first place. According to London research agency Loudhouse, who looked at UK office use on a national basis, the average office worker wastes around 6,800 sheets of paper out of the 10,000 they use annually. The key here is to move beyond recycling and to find ways of using existing office computer technology to make notes, or to use a projector in an office meeting to display information rather than relying on old fashioned hand-out, thus reducing the problem before it even becomes a recycling issue.

You’ve Got The Power

A survey completed by British Gas in early 2012 shows that UK businesses are still wasting around £1 of every £2 spent on their energy bill in careless office practices. Whilst everyone knows that it’s essential to completely turn appliances off to save energy, this can sometimes be forgotten in an office work-place. Designate one person to be the electricity officer and make it their responsibility to power everything down at the wall socket before they go home. Another area where energy is wasted is leaving battery powered items connected to live chargers that don’t need to be recharged. Items such as phones and laptops should not be permanently plugged into the power as this not only wastes energy, but can also seriously impact the energy retention properties of your batteries.

Pool Your Resources

An idea that originated in the US that’s now getting more attention in the UK is car-pooling. If your business has many workers travelling to work by car who live in close proximity to one another, then it might be an idea to suggest a car sharing incentive, particularly if they’ve all got company cars. By having three or four drivers work on a rotation system you can make an impact of between 66% and 75% of your workers’ carbon footprint, which is still a definite reduction in the environmental impact of any business.

Send ‘Em Packing

Recycled cardboard only takes around 30% of the energy required to manufacturer this substance from pulped timber wood, with the UK creating around 4 million tons of material from recycled matter since 2004. This industry is now so large that businesses can sell their waste cardboard packaging to get a worthwhile return, which is great news if you run a business with a high flow of goods, such as a retail unit. The important thing to consider however is that cardboard and paper need to be correctly sorted in order to be sold to the recycling companies. Fortunately there are a number of products available, such as rack-sacking that allow workers to quickly and easily sort cardboard packing into its various types and then store it away, ready for collection.

Now We’re Cooking

Businesses that deal with food production also create a lot of different types of waste, which can be a problem to sort and separate. By using a special coloured bin system with clearly defined colours for each kind of waste, kitchen staff can instantly identify the right container recycling container, helping keep the work-place clean and hygienic. This idea is so good that you can in fact expand it to any kind of business that deals with multiple types of materials, such as a workshop or a clothing production.

Green Benefits

Everyone knows that green business practices benefit the planet directly by cutting down on energy usage and creating sustainability. However, did you also know that becoming more eco-friendly can actually benefit your sales? Research published as long ago as 1997 by Dutch green business expert Danja Van Der Veldt shows that the public prefer to buy from companies that are doing their bit for the environment. So if you are putting in practices that save energy, reduce resource uses and recycle waste then makes sure you let both your prospective and existing customers know about your business changes.

This article was brought to you by supplier and manufacturers of office recycling products, ESE Direct.

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