5 Tips for Making Your Office More Sustainable That You May Not Have Considered

The concept of “greener offices” is gaining momentum in the business realm. More and more businesses are realising that sustainable offices aren’t just better for the environment – they also have cheaper bills and happier, often more productive staff.

Many businesses have implemented the more obvious green practices, such as keeping electronic records over paper ones and recycling the old milk cartons. However, Australian businesses, for the most part, are still a long way from sustainability. Therefore, we’ve provided a quick summary of five easy-to-implement tips that are sure to boost productivity and lower the carbon footprint of your office.

  1. Double it up

Whilst more and more business documents and correspondence have gone digital, realistically, some things do still need to be printed on paper. However, fear not, office paper consumption can be halved simply by ensuring printing is double rather than single sided.

  1. Soft plastic recycling

We all know about recycling glass, cardboard and hard plastic. However, a lot of office waste is post-consumer soft plastic that goes straight in the trash. This soft plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose and is hazardous for wildlife and marine life.

Thankfully, RED Group, a Melbourne based recycling organisation, have teamed up with Coles and Woolworths to provide Australians with soft-plastic recycling. It doesn’t take much extra effort to put out a soft plastic recycling bin for staff. When its full, the bin can be emptied at a drop-off point in the area. Most Coles and Woolworths supermarkets have an easily accessible drop-off point.

  1. Have a coffee plan

Many offices are fueled by coffee. However, the by-products of coffee consumption can be a big contributor to office waste. Those delicious, single-use Nespresso coffee capsules take 150 to 500 years to decompose. Former Nespresso chief executive, Jean-Paul Gaillard, has urged the world not to “sacrifice the environment for convenience”.

On top of this, many disposable coffee cups from local coffee shops have a fine layer of plastic lining, making them completely non-recyclable.

So, what’s the answer to this coffee conundrum? Firstly, start recycling those coffee capsules. Nespresso stores function as drop-off points for used pods to be recycled.

Another solution is to swap to filter or instant coffee. If staff aren’t so crash-hot on this idea, you can purchase re-fillable stainless steal pods that are compatible with Nespresso machines.

Its also a great idea to have a collection of “keep cups” that staff can borrow from the kitchen if they’re going out for a barista made coffee.

  1. Sustainable transport

Driving to work in peak hour traffic means staff arrive grumpy, stressed and often late. Encouraging staff to walk or cycle to work is a great way to lessen your businesses environmental impact and boost morale. Staff who have performed some exercise prior to their shift are more likely to remain focused and will definitely be in a more positive mood. On top of this, nobody will be able to use the bad traffic excuse for rocking up late.

  1. Temperature control and lighting

Whilst maintaining a good office temperature and quality lighting is highly important to the workplace, utilising natural light and ventilation has positive health benefits and will diminish the power bill.

Newcastle has beautiful, mild temperatures for most months of the year. If its nice outside, it’s not necessary to seal up the office and crank up the air-conditioning. If ventilating the office isn’t viable, ensuring the air conditioner isn’t set too low or too high will de-crease the power bill.

Most importantly, cooperation is the key. Sustainable offices are a group effort that requires everyone to be on board. Once staff put their heads together and start brainstorming on how to make the office greener, the results are almost always positive.

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