Good habits start at home. But that doesn’t mean you should leave them at the door when you head off to work.
The average person spends eight hours a day, five days a week and 46 weeks of the year at work. Do you stop caring about the environment just because you’re knee deep in excel spreadsheets?
We didn’t think so.
Here are 5 simple sustainability hacks that you can implement in your workplace – from today.
- Create a collective compost
Have you ever composted on the job?
If your answer is ‘no’ (or a confused ‘what?’), now’s the time to introduce a composting system in your workplace.
By now, we all know the drill with composting. By supplying organic matter (such as lunch scraps and coffee grinds) with water and oxygen, natural bacteria will break them down into rich and nutritious soil.
And with your kitchen scraps bypassing the bin, they won’t end up in a landfill. Which means the methane emissions they release when breaking down are greatly reduced. Eco win!
But, can composting be done in the office? You bet your buttons.
Composting is no longer limited to huge galumphing garden barrels. Say hello to the Bokashi system. Simply collect your scraps in a small bin, spray them with the special Bokashi enzymes, and the contents will rapidly turn into a form that’s ready to go back to nature.
Et voila, you’re composting on the job!
If you want to take your composting off-site, another great option is the Compost Collective's Share Waste website, where you can find places to drop off scraps near your workplace.
- Don’t print our trees
Printers can be found in almost every office. Even in the digital age, it’s an unfortunate reality that paperwork is still seen as a necessity in most businesses.
Thousands of pages can be printed in one day. Just to be thrown out the next.
But we know you’re not going to stand for that. (You’re reading this article, after all.)
So, here are some tree-friendly printing habits to shout loud and proud from your cubicle:
- View documents electronically
- Print on both sides of the page
- Re-use and recycle paper whenever possible
You might also like to include a message in your email signature reminding your readers not to print your email unless absolutely necessary.
- Reduce, re-use, recycle … and avoid the E-waste cycle
Where would we be without desktops, laptops and tablets at work? (Holding comically large 80s mobile phones and checking our beepers, probably.)
Contemporary tech has made us more efficient. But it’s also created another form of waste.
A never-ending pile of unused or broken devices. And here in New Zealand we don’t have a proper e-waste recycling system.
So, instead of purchasing the newest version of a desktop, opt for second-hand. This will help to reduce another laptop being thrown into the bottomless e-waste pit.
But if you do have e-waste to dispose of at your workplace Noel Leeming has an E-Waste Collection Service nationwide, so send it there rather than to landfill.
- Create a plastic free workspace
Creating a plastic-free lunchroom can dramatically reduce the levels of plastic your workplace churns through.
You can make some big changes from top-down, such as changing cleaning products to refillable eco-friendly containers, or buying tables and chairs made of natural materials.
But in asking your entire team to go plastic-free, some of the work will involve changing the hearts and minds of your colleagues.
Through some minor lifestyle tweaks, your team can lead plastic-less mealtimes. Ask them to ditch the cling wrap, plastic bags and zip-lock bags. And create a space for beeswax wraps to enter the room.
To make the process easier, you might like to have a pop-up stall in your office, selling beeswax wraps, reusable coffee cups and bamboo cutlery, or create a shelf of reusables to share.
- Give a green gift
Not to be a grinch, but Christmas work parties often end up the most wasteful event on the corporate calendar.
Instead of visions of sugarplums dancing through our heads, we’re seeing piles of plastic packaging lining bins instead. Not to mention the $2 shop plastic Secret Santa gifts that are politely accepted, before being discreetly binned when exiting the party.
Here at The Good Registry, we say it’s time to stop putting more waste into the world – and give the gift of giving instead. With a Good Registry Gift Card.
By purchasing a charitable gift card for your coworkers or clients, they can decide where they wish to spend it. It’s a totally eco-friendly and carbon free gift.
To date, we’ve replaced more than 17,000 gifts and about 250 tonnes of carbon emissions with $580,000 of donations for good causes.
- by Zola Prenderville, Refresh Marketing