10 Ways to Keep It Green in the Workplace
Keeping It Green and reducing your carbon footprint at work.
Working as an Insurance Agency, there’s a lot of paper involved. Even with “going paperless” efforts available, there’s no way to avoid a lot of paper usage in a business like ours.
However, that doesn’t mean we don’t care about the environment.
Many Americans are trying to be more conscious of things like recycling and eliminating excess waste with awareness campaigns like Earth Week or America Recycles Day.
We’ve gathered up all the ways our business is environmentally responsible and how we’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint.
Here’s 10 ways we keep it green in the office or at home!
1. Recycle Your Paper
This is basically the first step any household, business, or community implements when thinking of going green.
Recycling paper can be such a big step in going green in a small business. Since we use so much paper on a day-to-day basis, here at Hugh F. Miller Insurance, we take recycling paper to a whole new level.
First, we have a bin for recycling paper that we take to our local recycling facility. We use recycling bins from quill (you could really use any trash bin), they’re really big to fit all the paper we go through. Look into places to drop off your recyclables in your community, many places will take more than paper, they’ll take other heavy-duty items like newsprint and cardboard.
Secondly, whenever someone in the office uses paper and only prints or writes on one side, we flip the sheet over and use it again elsewhere. Create a landing-place for those full sheets where they can be reused. Simply “X” out the used side and reuse as scratch paper or even for printing documents. (Then when you’re done using both sides of the paper, put it in the recycling bin you just got!)
Lastly, there’s some paper that can’t be recycled in a business, and that’s paper with confidential information about your employees, clients, or family members if you’re at home. These papers need to be shredded. However this shredded paper doesn’t necessarily need to go to waste. Here, we have a local farmer who uses shredded paper as bedding for his animals. You can look into uses for shredded paper in your area. Another idea would be to use that shredded paper as fire kindling for those of you homeowners with a fireplace.
Really, you can see how important it is to recycle and reuse as much paper as possible.
2. Recycling Bins
Along with adding a recycling bin for paper, you can add others like plastic and aluminum. Having them color coordinated will help keep things straight if you’ve got more than one central area for garbage cans.
Tip: Don’t forget that more than just water bottles can be recycled! Things like plastic silverware or fast food containers can go in those bins too!
3. Reuse Folders & Office Supplies
Not only do we recycle or reuse paper, plastic, and aluminum, we recycle our office supplies. Mainly we recycle and reuse our file folders. Keeping client information easily accessible is important at HFM and we do that by having a filing system.
However, other information that we store is often kept in recycled file folders from previous clients. Each employee has drawers filled with important information to their daily work. These folders are commonly reused ones. We’ll black out all the labels from previous clients, and put new ones and BAM! Brand new folder!
Another office supply item we reuse is binders. Extra Tip: Avoid buying trendy office supplies and go straight for practicality. This can reduce the urge to buy the same products again simply because they’re out of style, and therefore save you money.
4. Power Strips
Using power strips can be a great way to make sure your home or office is energy-efficient. When electronics are plugged into your outlets, they’re still sucking power, even if those devices are turned off.
By using a power strip that can turn off, you’re not only being environmentally responsible, but you’re also lowering your energy bill. You can even purchase power chords that have a surge protector on them. These will protect your electronics during a power surge. Who doesn’t love seeing those numbers shrink?
Here at the office, each workstation has it’s own power strip. Having tons of cords in one place may be messy at times, but it’s energy efficient!
5. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Here’s another way to be conscious in saving energy. Using energy-efficient light bulbs can lower your light bill. These light bulbs also tend to last longer than regular ones.
Having to purchase light bulbs less often can keep some extra money in your pocket.
6. Eliminating Excess Lighting
This is one piece of advice I’m sure you’ve heard over and over.
Turn off lights you aren’t using!!
It’s really simple, but it’s one that a lot of people have trouble turning into a good habit. Turning off excess lights is a huge step in reducing the amount of energy your home or office uses.
Hugh F. Miller Insurance Agency does this by keeping any unnecessary lights off, like keeping the conference room lights off when there isn’t a meeting going on.
7. Coffee Station
Most workplaces and homes now have Keurigs or some sort of coffee maker. Keeping it green can be a little easier if you don’t use throw away coffee cups.
Supplying mugs or encouraging your staff or family to use a washable coffee thermos can eliminate just a few more items in your trash bin.
Pro tip: Get a reusable coffee pod for your Keurig. This eliminates plastic waste and can be cheaper. Buying coffee grounds in bulk is often less money than a box of K-pods.
Related Link: Coffee Talk – Read up on The Man with the Mustache
8. Fabric vs. Paper
Using fabric hand towels versus paper towels in your bathrooms and at your sinks is a really easy and cheap way to reduce excess waste.
Not only will reusable towels be cheaper in the long run, they’ll help you cut back on your paper waste.
9. Plates and Silverware
Plastic forks, paper plates, and straws really add up. At our office, we thankfully supply our staff with glass plates and real silverware to eat their lunches on. This cuts back so much on unnecessary waste with ten employees eating in our office every day.
Swapping out plastic food containers, plates, and silverware for glass and metal is an easy, affordable switch to help the environment.
10. Reusable Shopping Bags
Although our business does not use shopping bags, we do offer these cloth totes to our clients. You can receive one of these sweet shopping bags if you write your homeowners policy with us. Request a free quote on your homeowners insurance here.
This is just one way we can encourage our clients to contribute to the “going green” efforts all around the world. Using fabric shopping bags is so much better for our environment than plastic. Also, you can fit more items in them, and they hold heavier items better than traditional plastic or paper bags.
And who doesn’t love a little free marketing while your clients grocery shop?
11. Bonus Tip: Carpool or Bike
If possible, it’s always a great idea to carpool with fellow coworkers or family. For instance, if you and your boyfriend work within a few minutes of each other, go ahead and drive to work together. Another easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to bike to work. If you live within a reasonable distance from your work, biking can help you and the environment.
Not only will you be using less gas, you’ll be exercising more and creating a great healthy habit for yourself.
Also, if you live in a bigger city with a good free public transit system, opt to use that instead of driving everyday. It may take a little longer than driving, but you will be saving money by shortening trips to the gas station. You can also catch up on some reading or update your Facebook and Insta on your bus ride to help pass the time.
Becoming environmentally friendly is really easy to do with these simple steps.
Taking small steps today can encourage you to form some good habits that help you and our environment in the long run. How do you Keep It Green in your home or business? Did we miss an important tip?
Tell us below!