Offices are renowned for their staggeringly wasteful practices, reliance on paper and poor recycling figures.
Here's how you can change your working ways and change the planet with these handy hints for a cleaner and greener working environment from ethical and eco friendly products retailer Ecotopia.
Firstly, if your office relies on paper, rethink your common buying practises. In the UK we produce over 20 million tonnes of refuse each year, 90% of which ends up in ugly landfill sites. By contrast, Switzerland recycles nearly 80% of its waste. Offices are major consumers of high quality paper, 90% of which is thrown away. This equates to nearly 750,000 tonnes of waste paper each year.
Make it common practise to buy recycled paper and envelopes, and print double sided to cut waste and lower disposal costs. Every 100 reams of recycled office paper printed double-sided saves two trees, more than a tonne of greenhouse gas and almost one cubic metre of landfill space in comparison with 100 reams of paper not recycled or printed double.
Commercial organisations can also make a huge difference by choosing to buy energy efficient office equipment, from light bulbs to computers. Electricity and air conditioning costs will go down as energy efficient appliances produce less heat than ordinary appliances, ensuring the benefits of going green show on the bottom line. For each kilowatt hour of electricity saved, one tonne of greenhouse gas is stopped from entering the atmosphere.
Office computers are rarely used in environmentally friendly ways but if they are switched off outside office hours this can make an enormous difference to the amount of energy they use. Many users are unaware that screen savers waste energy too, so try switching your screen saver to 'blank' or 'none' instead.
When buying new computer equipment for the office, remember that laptops are much more energy and materials efficient than desktop PC's, making them more environmentally friendly. The same is true of filing systems - electronic copies reduce the amount of waste paper produced.
No matter how big or small the office, it's important to get everyone involved in recycling initiatives. Assigning roles such as refilling printer toners, recycling cartridges and appliances or developing a paper sorting system are sure fire ways to create a greener office environment.
For a quick fix, introducing plants into the office is also a smart move as they really can help to cleanse the air and brighten up dark spaces. From water powered calculators to Ecover cleaning products, the smallest of changes make a huge difference long term.
Ecotopia have a huge range of environmentally friendly products for the office. After kick-starting the new greener, cleaner workplace with recycling labels, recycled mouse mats and even organic coffee, why not suggest a competition to find the most innovative way to recycle old appliances and excess paper?
About the Author: This article was provided courtesy of Ecotopia.