Sustainability in a workplace

Sustainability in a workplace

Assemble a team of co-workers who want to reduce waste and improve the energy efficiency in your office. To build a “green team,” first get approval from management. Let them know about the team to see how your company might support it. Then:
Recruit: Spread the word to coworkers and get members from all departments and levels in the company, including executives and interns.

Launch: Organize a meeting to develop a strategy for your green team. Encourage participation by accepting suggestions from any employee, as each department may have unique ideas or ways they can make a difference.

Execute: Start small by changing the things you can. Add recycling bins to the kitchen. Swap out styrofoam cups for ceramic mugs.

Educate coworkers about reusable lunch containers. Turn on energy-saving settings for your copy machines, encourage double-sided printing or, best yet, try going paperless.

Conserve energy: Use power save settings on computers, monitors, and copy and fax machines. Use a power strip with a central power switch—it’ll make it easier to turn off power when you’re done for the day.

Print less: Set printers and copiers to double-sided printing and check with procurement or operations to see if printer and copy paper has post-consumer content. Encourage coworkers to distribute office publications, forms and surveys electronically to save paper and ink.

Buy green: Meet with janitorial staff and office management to encourage green choices for energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs, accessible recycling options, and eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

Manage waste: Encourage recycling by making sure every room in your office has recycling containers. Raise money for company-sponsored, re-usable water bottles to reduce use of plastic bottles and paper cups.

When negotiating your benefits package, ask about opportunities to work from home. You’ll save fuel and time by skipping your commute one day a week.

Do lunch: Meet with your organization’s cafeteria staff or office manager to discuss ways to increase sustainability such as setting up a compost bin, purchasing biodegradable utensils and reusable dishes.

Change your commute: Telecommute, ride a bike or take public transportation to work. If this isn’t possible, consider setting up a carpool with coworkers. Ask management to provide bike parking. Start an annual or monthly alternative transportation day (e.g. Ride-your-bike-to-work day.)

Host a green competition: Encourage participation by promoting in-house competitions that reward the individual or department that makes the most progress in energy efficiency. Put up a poster board or create a wiki to track progress and update it weekly.

Spread the word: Set up green training sessions to get your coworkers involved in greening your workplace.

Share the wealth: Make sure everyone has a copy of this TIPS guide so they can see how the small steps they take can help make progress toward a big solution.

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