There is nothing new about the ‘go green’ movement; what is new is that people all over the world are (finally) starting to embrace it more.
In its 2016 State of Sustainability Report, The Natural Marketing Institute stated that “sustainability is not a trend, it is becoming a cultural shift. All organizations, therefore, will need to realize that sustainability is not just a desired activity but a necessary strategy.”
Take a look around your flexible workspace. How eco-friendly is it? Do you have any practices or policies that encourage sustainable behaviors in your workplace?
More often than not, businesses hold off from becoming environmentally friendly because of the costs associated with the shift. Against that argument, we say that you need to think ahead and take into consideration the savings and benefits that you will see in the long-run. Today, however, I’m not here to try and convince you to put down a million dollar investment to install solar panels or to change your entire water management system to become more efficient or LEED Certified. (That’ll come later.)
Today I’m here to share 5 easy (and cheap) ways to make your workplace a more eco-friendly space.
Go Light On The Walls
Painting your workplace walls with light colors can help maximize the natural light that comes into the space. Light colors have a high albedo, which means that they reflect the light to other areas and objects, as opposed to dark colors which tend to absorb light that hits them. This doesn’t mean all your walls have to be white or beige. However, the closer the color is to white, the more light it will reflect. Pastel, off-white colors, and lighter tones are a good option; but you can also tint colors (add white to a color) to increase its reflectivity.
Efficient Recycling System
You’d think that by now everyone would be recycling. But that’s not the case, and there’s always room to improve. KS Environmental Group says that more than 80% of workplace waste is recyclable. However without a proper system in place, many of these recyclable items end up in landfill. An efficient recycling system is one that is centralized. Centralized recycling systems help create awareness–people learn what can and cannot be recycled, which helps to reduce costs. It also enables custodial staff to manage their time more efficiently.
Here’s what you need to do to have a centralized and efficient recycling system:
- place recycling bins in an area that members frequent a lot
- label the bins and include the types of waste that can go into each one (i.e. trash = coffee pouches, candy wrappers; compost = food scraps, cardboard, used coffee beans; mixed recycling: plastic, glass, aluminum)
- place paper recycling boxes in common working areas (near the hot-desking area, in private offices, in meeting rooms)
- make sure you also have a bin where workspace members can correctly dispose of batteries, electronic equipment, ink cartridges, and the like
This type of recycling system also has the following benefits:
- It’ll help you create a strong workplace community
- It’ll encourage members to take small breaks and walk
- It’ll help prevent bad smells in working areas as people won’t be able to dispose of food in personalized bins
Have a Switch-Off Campaign
Switch-off campaigns are a low-cost and interactive approach to save energy. Basically, a switch-off campaign consists of getting people (in your case workspace members) to turn off lights and electrical equipment when not in use or not needed.
To organize a successful switch-off campaign you’ll need effective communication with all members and some posters or banners strategically placed as friendly reminders for people to turn off lights and unplug unused equipment and cables. The purpose of this type of campaign is not only to reduce electricity and/or gas costs, but also to conscientize about energy use. Ideally, this type of campaign can evolve to become a habit where people are always ‘switching-off’ everything that’s not in use.
Promote the Use of Reusable Water Bottles, Cups, etc.
Encourage workers to bring their own reusable water bottles and coffee cups and mugs. This will help reduce the waste associated disposable cups. You can encourage members to do this by having posters next to the water filters to encourage people to re-fill their bottles, or you can turn it into a branding opportunity and give out (or sell) water bottles to your members.
Companies usually give their employees a branded coffee mug after they’ve been around for a while; take the same approach and give members water bottles or coffee mugs for them to use in the workplace.
Go Green With Cleaning Products
This is an easy way to make sure that what you do doesn’t negatively affect the environment. Green cleaning products also help create a healthier environment for workers, staff, and visitors. Eco-friendly products contain less toxins and irritants that can affect the eyes, skin, and the air that we breathe.
These are only a few of the various options out there to create better and more sustainable workplace environments. There’s no excuse not to implement at least one of these practices; they’re affordable, they’re beneficial to all involved, and they’ll help you lower costs and attract more loyal members.
Let us know through social media how these eco-friendly practices work for your workspace.