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5 Easy Steps for Implementing Sustainability in the Workplace

Creating a green workspace environment should be a priority for businesses and corporations in 2018.  Major companies, such as Google and Dell, have created important initiatives this year to limit their carbon footprints.  By establishing a sustainable, ecofriendly office environment, your company will have a positive impact on your community, and the wider world.  You don’t need to completely overhaul your office or your day-to-day procedures to achieve results.  You can do so by taking such simple steps as implementing a compost bin in the break room — or following any of the tips below.

  1. Shine Bright! Minimize your light usage with windows, sunlight, or even just changing out your traditional lighting for the LED kind. According to GE, by 2030 the DOE estimates that LED lighting could save 190 terawatt hours of electricity per year. This is equal to $15 billion! This easy swap can help to save you money while also saving our environment from mercury and other harmful greenhouse emissions.
  2. Save our Trees. As our world becomes more and more paper-free, we can expect to see a positive impact on our trees and our environment. When printing is necessary, it’s important to reduce waste as much as possible. Success stories are everywhere.  In the past five years, for example, Bank of America cut its paper requirements by 32%, while also starting an internal recycling program that recycles about 30,000 tons of paper (the equivalent of 200,000 trees) a year.  Even minor changes to your office policies, such as purchasing 100% recycled paper or printing on both sides of a page, can have a positive impact.  In 2015, the United States hit a 67% target rate of paper recovery and recycling.  According to the Printing Industries of America, this was a record high.  By continuing to reduce, reuse, and recycle printing paper your company can help to nudge that percentage even higher.
  3. Efficient Energy. One of the most obvious and easy ways to create a more sustainable workplace is by limiting energy usage. This year McDonalds pledged to cut emissions by 36% by minimizing energy use, something that can be achieved by turning off lights, printers and even coffeemakers when not in use. Other ways include switching computer screensavers to hibernate mode and turning off computers on nights and weekends.  Even small changes can have a big impact!
  4. Regularly Recycle. Recycling goes beyond just paper and plastic. E-waste needs to be properly disposed of, too. HP is one company that has taken a stand against harmful products:  all of its current products are 100% recyclable.  But not all recycling methods are safe.  According to PRB, the Population Reference Bureau, an estimated 70% of e-waste is handled in India, where practices include open-air burning that emits lead and other toxic metals.  The result is major damage to the environment.  This practice also puts the local population at an increased risk of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.  Make sure that your company uses a reputable company for e-waste, as for all recycling needs.
  5. Say bye-bye to plastic! Recently, Starbucks and other chains have taken a stand to reduce plastic usage by eliminating straws, using recycled materials and more. “One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics,” as David Barnes, a lead author and researcher for the British Antarctic Survey, said recently.  Plastic introduces harmful chemicals into the human body.  It does the same with groundwater and oceans, according to Environmental Health News.  You can reduce plastic usage in simple ways by, for example, providing employees with reusable utensils and plates. You can also keep cloth bags in the office for employees’ use.  Even such small changes can have an impact on the health of your employees — and the environment.

 

A positive environmental impact can be achieved by making a series of simple changes. To learn more about how you can create a sustainable workplace please contact us here or call us at 415-351-2227

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