Happy national recycling week! If you’ve been thinking about making your office a more sustainable place to work, this is the perfect week to start. We know it’s not easy– getting a start on sustainability can be a daunting and tricky process. Many businesses believe that in order to reduce their carbon footprint they will need to exhaust personal resources. That it means denting this year’s budget, or taking on inconvenient lifestyle changes, but that’s not true.
Below we’ve put together 10 easy, simple, and inexpensive ways that your office can start making a difference today.
Buy office supplies sustainably
A little bit of extra research into your supplier can make a world of difference. From your company’s choice of printer paper to what stationary you decide to stock, your office supplies matter. Each office item has a different implication for the environment – with some suppliers being more sustainable than others.
Look out for companies that promote the use of recycled materials in their products. When looking into office cleaning items, look for cleaners that use sustainably sourced plant and mineral based ingredients.
Thankfully in 2021, many mainstream office suppliers carry a range of eco-friendly office options. Next time you’re ordering from Officeworks for example, check out their sustainability hub.
Discourage disposable coffee cups
Everyone loves a morning pick-me-up on their way to work but there’s no need for single-use cups. It’s never been easier to get your cup of coffee in eco-friendly fashion with most cafes now accepting keep-cups. Promoting keep-cups and mugs in the office can help reduce the waste produced by your employees.
If you’re looking to kick single-use cups, get the word out with posters or a company-wide email. It’s important to let your employees know where your company stands on the issue. It is also best to inform employees about the environmental impact of their actions. When reaching out to employees be sure to connect them with resources to learn more about why these issues matter. This will encourage them to take action.
Centralise your recycling bins
Recycling bins are everywhere, or at least in theory. Every office has a spot to recycle but when working at a desk even the closest recycling bin can feel far-flung. Recycling bins in the middle of a hallway or off in a corner won’t see much action. Make sure that your office recycling bins are in all the office hot-spots: the breakroom, kitchen, office centre. Essentially, any part of the office space that sees a high amount of foot traffic.
The future is now – technology offers us a wide variety of options when it comes to presenting and receiving information. Meanwhile, the wide-spread access of tech means that there is often no issue in accessing it.
To help your company’s carbon footprint, cut down on paper wherever possible. Encourage laptops and tablets in meeting, rather than traditional paper handouts. Opt for digital, phone, or SMS voting solutions, rather than traditional paper ballots. Establish a digital environment as the workplace norm and help employees feel comfortable in embracing technology. Consider placing a reminder about this on a poster near your company’s printer, asking employees to consider whether printing is necessary for them today.
Add organic waste bins
Organic waste doesn’t belong in landfill – the breakdown of organic waste is a top contributor in the emission of greenhouse gasses. Having a dedicated bin in the office for food scraps is a great way to help. This can help get the most out of your employees discarded orange peels or apple cores.
If your business has grand recycling ambitions, then you can consider using these scraps in your very own garden space. Alternatively, if you would like to do your part when it comes to organic waste but don’t have resources for an office garden, reach out to your local council. This way you can see what local options are available when it comes to organic waste collection. Before putting out organic waste bins, ensure that your company has a disposal plan in place.
Install a rinse station
You’ve got your recycling bins all set up, and your employees seem to be making use of them, that’s great! But are they using them correctly?
Too often recycling initiatives are squandered by contamination of recycling items i.e., the wrong items being thrown in recycling bins. Contamination directly affects the recycler’s ability to recover resources effectively and risks ruining your offices quality recycling efforts. A major component of contamination is the existence of foods and liquid items in recycling bins. The solution? A rinse station which can let employees clean out their items first, before tossing them.
Having a rinse station can be as easy as ensuring that your recycling bins are close to wash basins. That is, any place where employees can wash recycling items (such as the kitchen or break room).
Introduce an upcycle station
An upcycle station is not just great for the environment. It also helps lower company and employees’ costs – truly a solution beloved by all.
To create an upcycle station all you’ll need is a shelving space in the office and some labels to help organise. Encourage employees to put any unused or old office furniture, folders, staplers, pens, etc. into the upcycle station. They should also check the station before making any office purchases to see if they can utilise a discarded item. This will help cut down on unnecessary waste and is a cost-effective way to redistribute unwanted office supplies.
Position paper-recycling boxes on people’s desks
Sometimes when it’s been a long day at work, employees may not feel up to walking to the recycling bin. They may start to convince themselves that the regular bin will do just fine.
Having a recycling-box on employees’ desk is a way to ensure that recycling efforts become zero effort. This way employees’ can effectively recycle their paper waste without exuding any extra effort.
Keep track of your company’s environmental footprint
Carefully monitor and report your company’s recycling efforts and progress. This gives your employees the chance to see the outcome of their efforts. It also encourages them to continually do their best.
Educate your staff
Once you’ve got all your recycling efforts in place, it’s time to encourage your employees to step-forward and do their part. However, they’ll likely feel apathetic if they don’t understand the meaning behind your new green initiatives.
Make sure your employees are well informed about why your company’s initiatives matter. Send out emails, put up posters, and connect your employees with informative resources to get the message across. Consider encouraging employees to download a recycling app which informs them about the benefits of the recycling process. A recycling app can also assist them with any questions they have about what can and can’t be recycled.
Sustainable office culture in 2021
When it comes to acquiring and keeping top talent companies need to make sure that they are keeping up with the competition. Especially when it comes to the needs and wants of the job market. Today, it’s not all about an employee’s pay. What employees expect from a work environment is becoming increasingly more complex with heightened attention being paid to the office setting (more on that here) as well as a company’s commitment to sustainability and wellness.
If you are uncertain about how your company stacks up when it comes to sustainability, an employee survey can be used. This will help gather information on how employees view your company. It can provide valuable insights on areas of sustainability, work, or office culture that needs improvement. Additionally, if your employee survey shows a strong positive response to your company’s sustainability initiatives, then you can use these statistics in recruitment campaigns and marketing.
If you’d like to know more about how our employee surveys can help your company, please feel free to reach out to us at (08) 6314 0580 or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.