How To Practice Sustainability In The Workplace

by Megan Kioulafofski
sustainability in the workplace

If you’re committed to an eco-friendly lifestyle, finding ways to practice sustainability in the workplace is a must! After all, you spend about a third of your life working. In some cases this is easier said than done. Unlike your home, you don’t have full control over your company’s environmental policies

The good news, with the growing awareness of environmental issues, more businesses are doing their part to create eco-friendly workplaces. This has made it easier for environmentally conscious workers and business owners to make a difference. Here are a few things you can do to practice sustainability in your workplace.

Choose Eco-friendly Ways To Get To And From Work

Creating an eco friendly workplace starts before you enter the office. The EPA estimates that the average car emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. You can do your part to reduce this number by committing to a more sustainable commute to work.

riding bike to eco friendly workplace

If you live close to your workplace why not start walking or biking to work! These activities not only reduce CO2 emissions, they’re also great for your health. A recent survey from the British Medical Journal found that an active commute to work led to better overall health and a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases. People with active commutes also experience less stress than those who choose to drive.

If you live too far from work to walk or bike, see if your city has any public transportation options. The American Public Transportation Association estimates that taking public transit can reduce CO2 emissions by 20 pounds a day. I also love public transit because it allows you to catch up on music, audiobooks, and podcasts before going into work!

If biking or public transit are simply not an option, try carpooling with some of your coworkers. It’s a great way to connect with co-workers while reducing your CO2 emissions. Carpooling can also shave time off your daily commute. Many places have High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes which you can use if you carpool.

Bring Your Own Food And Utensils to Work

Another great way to practice sustainability in the workplace is to bring your own food. Going out to eat or ordering take out produces unnecessary waste. A single take out order comes with environmentally harmful items like paper bags, styrofoam containers, and plastic silverware. Most of these items are thrown out after a single use!

bringing utensils for sustainability in the workplace

You can enjoy a more eco friendly workplace by bringing your own food. Bringing food to work cuts down on single use material found in take out meals. It also gives you more control over what you eat, which makes it easier to stay committed to a healthy eco friendly diet! If you embrace this tasty way to practice sustainability in the workplace, remember to invest in eco friendly containers to bring your food in! Bringing your own food doesn’t do much good for the planet if it’s stored in plastic sandwich bags.

If you choose to eat out at work, there are ways to reduce your environmental impact. Ask the restaurants you order from if you can bring in a reusable container to put your food in. You can also eat your food at the restaurant to avoid wasteful “to go” containers altogether. At the very least you should bring your own silverware and napkins to avoid the single-use items that often come with your meal.

Go Paperless

In today’s digital age, there is less need than ever to use paper products at work. Online tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack makes it easy to create and share documents within your company without the use of paper. There are also digital, paper-free tools, for areas like accounting and project management.

Technology is moving us towards a more paperless world. If your office is lagging behind speak up! In addition to saving paper, these digital tools are convenient and save time. If something can lighten your workload and promote an eco friendly workplace at the same time; then it’s a no-brainer to me!

sustainability in the workplace by going digital and paperless

Start A Reuse And Recycle Program In Your Office

Does your office have a recycling program? I hope so! Establishing a recycling program is a simple way to practice sustainability in your workplace. A good program should have recycling bins in all parts of the office. This includes the main working spaces, as well as meeting rooms, break rooms, and other common areas. Bins should be placed in visible and convenient places. The easier it is for people at your workplace to recycle, the more likely they are to do it.

If you really want an eco friendly workplace look for ways to recycle unused or discarded items in the office. This includes recycling old computer parts, as well as donating old items like fax machines and printers that you no longer use.

eco friendly workplace recycling program

Use Energy Efficient Lighting

Using energy efficient lighting is a key part of practicing sustainability in the workplace. Make sure your office uses LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs use up less energy than traditional bulbs, and last up to five times longer!

You can also conserve electricity by installing motion based lighting in your workplace. Motion based lighting automatically turns off lights in rooms that no one is using. It’s an excellent way to automate your lighting system so you’re not relying on stressed out co-workers to turn off the light.

Making Sustainability a Part Of Your Company Culture

The best way to practice sustainability in the workplace is to make it part of your company culture. If your company has a mission statement or code of conduct, make sure that it includes a commitment to the environment.

Reward employees who look for ways to make your company more eco friendly. If your company does work with the community, encourage them to support environmental initiatives. When you make sustainability a cornerstone of your business it guides your choices and points them towards a greener future.

More organizations than ever are finding ways to go green. Set an example at your office by using some of the tips above. There is no time better than now to practice sustainability at the workplace!

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