The push for paperless offices has, to some extent, prevented what might have been a spiraling-out-of-control waste trend. Yet, it isn’t sufficient to turn back the tide of waste that continues to be produced in office environments. If you are concerned about doing your part to keep our planet habitable (and we all should be), here are five ways to make your office more eco-friendly:
- Recycle, regardless of inconvenience
This may seem like a no-brainer, but recycling is still one the best ways to reduce your individual environmental impact and the same is true for businesses. Some municipalities do not offer non-residential recycling services as part of their property taxes for businesses and some business associations may have restrictions on recycling programs.
If this is the case in your area, consider taking one extra step. Set up a recycling area in your office and each week have a staff member bring home the recycling to add to their own. While it’s mind-boggling that in today’s day and age some townships and cities do not offer free recycling programs to all of their residents, there's a relatively easy way around these limitations and one that can help make for a more sustainable environment.
- Eliminate coffee “pods”
Do you have a coffee machine in the office? Is it a one-cup coffee maker? A number of news outlets and environmental watchdogs have recently taken an interest in these convenient but wasteful coffee makers and run with the story. From The Globe and Mail to The Atlantic, many publications have pointed to the detrimental impact these coffee pods are having on the environment, creating a mountain of non-recyclable garbage to add to already overflowing landfills.
Opt for a good ol’ fashioned coffee maker or, if your office does not run on caffeine, a couple of French presses to reduce the environmental impact of your caffeine cravings. Bonus: coffee grounds are great for your garden; just be sure to rinse them first!
- Use biodegradable supplies
Do you use to-go cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils? Consider this: petroleum-based plastics, which most containers and bottles are made out of, don’t decompose the same way organic materials do. The bacteria that biodegrade materials like wood, grass, and food do not biodegrade these plastics.
The next time you are placing an order for office supplies, consider using biodegradable office and break room supplies made from natural or recycled materials. Although they may cost more than their plastic or non-recyclable counterparts, biodegradable products make for a more sustainable office, especially in the break room.
- Implement a managed print services (MPS) program
An MPS program can help you better manage your print environments by collecting device data and providing greater insight into your consumables usage, supply ordering, and more.
With automated supplies fulfillment programs now available, MPS makes it easier than ever before to manage your office supplies. These automated solutions are not just more efficient than reactive manual supply ordering, but they are greener too. Human error, such as submitting an incorrect supply order, can result in pollution and unnecessary energy expenditures as a result of the associated manufacturing and distribution processes. Automated supplies fulfillment solutions function with little to no human intervention and mitigate the possibility of these errors.
- Try a reforestation solution
Consider using a global reforestation solution like PrintReleaf. The solution integrates with leading print management solutions, allowing for the automatic transmission of paper consumption data into the program, which calculates a customer’s paper footprint. PrintReleaf then plants trees to match your paper consumption and helps reduce the rate of deforestation.
One of the coolest features of PrintReleaf is that there are six certified reforestation projects you can contribute to, from the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil to forests in Ethiopia and Madagascar. For every page you print, you can contribute to reforestation initiatives around the world and help save hundreds of endemic species unique to these particular regions of the globe.
The objective of creating a more eco-friendly office is a modest one. Incorporating one or two of these suggestions will help to keep earth inhabitable, but implementing three or more could make you and your team eco-stars! Reach for the moon and planet Earth will thank you.
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