5 Small Changes You Can Make in the Office to Protect our Planet!

This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day- a day dedicated to recognizing the fight for a clean environment and the preservation of our planet. Not able to get outside and do an Act of Green? We’ve outlined some small, easy changes that you can make in your office that will help reduce waste and conserve the natural resources provided by our planet!

1. Make the switch: all electronic errrything! The use of computers/laptops in corporate offices have helped companies “go green” but there are still ways that you can reduce the amount of paper being used each day. Internally, allow employees to bring laptops to meetings rather than notebooks and email agendas to everyone beforehand rather than printing them out. If your company’s billing department is still paper-dependent, consider switching to e-bills, online invoices and paperless contracts, which gives the added benefit of allowing you to be more efficient with the movement of funds. Also, make sure that you’re re-using paper goods! When you order food for 50, there always seems to be plates/napkins/utensils for 100. Rather than throwing them away, save the leftover paper goods and store them in a specific spot in your office for the next team lunch or client meeting! Then when it’s time to order again, break out the extras and ask the vendor not to include any with their delivery.

2. Invest in recycling and recyclable items! Recycling bins may seem like a no-brainer when thinking of ways to protect our environment but many companies don’t have them. In New York City, the Department of Sanitation provides free decals to label bins for recycling and provides clear instructions for how and when you can recycle your glass, metal, rigid plastic, paper and cardboard. Adding a recycling bin to your office is an effective way to get your coworkers to start recycling items that they would normally throw away. Placing this recycling bin in a communal area makes everyone aware of where they can recycle and also holds everyone accountable to recycle their recyclable goods. It’s also important to invest in personal recyclable materials! A simple way to do this is purchasing reusable water bottles for your team. Rather than having each person using plastic cups for water or disposable water bottles, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste by providing stainless steel bottles or BPA free plastic bottles. Here are some of the top-rated bottles by customers. Not only does our team love repping FoodtoEat with our custom water bottles (free advertising for your company!), it also keeps us from spending money buying a pack of water bottles every week and wasting plastic. 

3. Reduce the amount of energy you use! Most of the items in our office use energy. So it’s very important that when you can, you reduce the amount of energy that your office is generating. If your office has natural lighting, try turning off your overhead lights and working with the sunlight for as long as you can each day (before it interferes with your work). Also, remind coworkers to turn off lights in any rooms that aren’t being used. Shutting down your computer before leaving the office for the night can also cut back on energy consumption. It takes much less power to restart your computer the next morning than it does to keep your computer running at your desk all night. Also try to unplug any unnecessary items such as phone chargers, laptop charger and lamps from the outlet that they are connected to. Although you may be turning them off before you leave, if an item is still connected to a power source, it will still use energy.

4. Add a plant! Indoor plants not only add beauty to your office, they have also been proven to increase productivity and improve your mood as well as purify the air that you breathe. Adding them into your office can reduce the chemical exposure that you and your coworkers face every day from items like cleaning products, fragrances and formaldehyde (found in garbage bags, paper towels, some fabrics) and help to reduce your overall chemical output. Here are some suggestions for plants that will freshen up your office and are easy to care for!

5. (Metro)Transportation nation! Living in a New York City, there’s always a source of public transportation that can get you where you need to go. Buses, trains and bikes are all available to commuters and are a great way to reduce the amount of gas emitted by cars on the road. If driving to work is unavoidable, try to carpool with other friends that work close to your office or coworkers that live in your area. Start a carpool sign up sheet where each person can sign up for a week in the month that they will drive so that no one gets stuck driving more than anyone else. On warmer Spring and Summer days, try waking up a little earlier and walking to work (if that’s feasible) or biking to work! Ask your team if a they can create space in the office that can be dedicated to storing your bike safely during the work day. Biking or walking to work as well as to meetings, happy hours and lunches throughout the city will help reduce your gas emission and give you some great exercise in the process!

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