Improve Workplace Sustainability with Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
There are no downsides to bringing greener practices into your office. Taking even a few steps toward sustainability will contribute to employee health, add a forward-thinking edge to your company identity, and strengthen your bottom line. Of course, you will also be doing your part to lighten the load on the planet. Here are five simple tips that will make a difference:
1. Use washable ceramic mugs instead of paper cups.
Before you begin to think about recycling paper waste, it’s important to consider ways to avoid generating it in the first place. Switching to personal ceramic coffee mugs in place of paper cups has other benefits as well. Real mugs are more satisfying to hold and drink from, and they are less likely to tip over. If you opt for disposable products, consider compostable cups that are more eco-friendly than their styrofoam counterparts.
2. Change cleaning supplies to environmentally friendly brands.
Wholesalers of office cleaning products now feature a full complement of green cleansers and recycled paper restroom supplies. Speak to your cleaning team about ordering environmentally sustainable brands, and you will soon notice that you’re breathing healthier air. The Environmental Working Group notes, “A large and growing body of evidence links frequent use of many ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job with development of asthma and other respiratory problems.”
3. Make sure computers and printers are fully powered off at the end of the day.
“The total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants,” according to the EPA. Establish a regular routine of powering off all equipment at the end of each workday and you’ll see a noticeable drop in your company’s electric bill.
4. Open blinds and use natural light.
Like many practices that save on electrical costs, this one has significant worker benefits as well. People who work in natural light enjoy greater physical energy during the day and better sleep quality at night, reports Northwestern University. This effect is substantial: workers exposed to natural light during the day were found to sleep an average of 46 minutes longer each night than those who worked only in artificial light.
5. Establish paper-recycling stations throughout the workplace.
Office recycling has been improving in recent years. Recycling captured 63.5% of paper products in 2010, according to Keep America Beautiful. We still have a long way to go. Paper and paperboard still makes up over 25% of our municipal solid waste. Your company can do its part by installing easy locations throughout your workplace for employees to recycle packaging, paper, and other materials.
Corporate sustainability depends on many elements, of course, but lower overhead and better employee health are central among them. Instituting green business practices will move your company closer to this goal of sustainability and will also establish your brand’s identity as a good planetary citizen.