10 Earth-Friendly Tips to Improve Office Efficiency & Sustainability

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Apr 21, 2021

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, and is a great time to make some changes that will help make your office an eco-friendlier and more sustainable place. 

Instead of thinking big, there are quite a few small adjustments you can make that will make your office more sustainable in the long term.

Here are ten eco-friendly tips you can start implementing today that will improve your organization's carbon footprint:

1. Ditch the Paper

Having a paperless office is a lot more feasible now than it once was. It’s easy to send memos over email instead of physical paper memos, and it’s easy to store important documents using document management software opposed to filing cabinets. 

You can also ask vendors to send digital invoices and statements, and you can set up automatic payments where possible so you don’t need to write as many paper checks. Even if you do still have to use some paper, make sure you are using recycled paper products.

Going paperless is not just more sustainable, but it can make your office more productive and efficient as well. Looking for paper files, for example, can waste up to 40% of an office worker’s time.

2. Reuse and Recycle

Did you know it takes more than 1,000 years for one ink toner cartridge to decompose? Recycling your old ink or toner cartridges is simple and easy.  Here’s the simple process breakdown:

  • Follow the link to our Recycling Center Page.
  • Complete the form below to download and print your labels.
  • Place your items into boxes and affix the pre-paid label.
  • Arrange for free pick-up or drop off at your nearest UPS facility.
Did you know you can recycle the following items? 
  • Inkjet Cartridges (OEM, Compatibles, Remans) 
  • Laser Cartridges (OEM, Compatibles, Remans) 
  • Fusers 
  • Cell phones

Milner will recycle any cartridge, regardless of Manufacturer, with a zero-landfill policy. For more insights into business technology, take a look at all our technology resources.

Recycling is not just about putting a recycling bin in the office and asking employees to use it, although that can certainly be helpful. You can also use refillable pens and reuse folders and binders. Encourage employees to take notes on both sides of the pages if they need to take physical notes.

3. Allow Telecommuting

As we have all seen during the past year, telecommuting is not only possible for many jobs, but it can significantly reduce the carbon footprint. Before the pandemic, American workers were wasting 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas each year while a worker in the US spends an average of 47 hours per year commuting in traffic.

Even if it’s not feasible to have a completely remote office, offering employees one to three remote days per week is better than nothing in terms of emissions.

Have a look at our blog post – 4 Ways to Make Working from Home Easier (and Safer) for the Long Haul

4. Watch the Thermostat

This doesn’t mean you have to make the office uncomfortable, but there are small things you can do to adjust your use of heat or air conditioning. For example, offering a more casual dress code in summer months can really help. You can also try turning the thermostat off when everyone leaves the office for the night.

5. Utilize Eco-Friendly Office Snacks

You can switch to snack, coffee, and tea companies that are producing eco-friendly snacks. There are even subscription services that will help to make things easier for you. In addition to making your office more sustainable, these are often healthier snack options as well.

6. Turn Off Electronics

Make it a habit for employees to turn off devices when they leave for the evening. Many computers, printers, and copiers also have energy efficient settings when they are not in use. So make sure you have your devices set to shut down after a certain amount of time of no use.

7. Start a Green Team in the Office

Creating a green team or a sustainability team is one way to ensure that your office is doing everything it can to become more eco-friendly. The team can look into energy-efficient appliances, organizations to volunteer for or donate to, and green cleaning supplies. 

The team can also create monthly green challenges to turn sustainability into a fun game for everyone. For example, you may have a month where employees are challenged to go thirty days without using plastic bags.

8. Adjust the Lighting

You can install motion sensor lighting so that lights will go off when they are not in use. It’s also a great idea to use LED bulbs wherever possible to get more efficient energy usage. Also try to use natural light more often. You may want to rearrange office furniture so that windows can be better utilized.

9. Use Eco-Friendly Office Supplies

Look for green office supplies like staple-less staplers and refillable pens. Recycle used office supplies where you can. Cut down on use of office supplies that do not have green alternatives, like rubber bands. 

10. Greenify the Washroom

Use hand dryers or cloth towels instead of paper towels to cut down on paper waste. You can also make sure your toilets and faucets are efficient and not leaking or continuously running so they will not be wasting water. Another good thing to do is make sure all cleaning products that are being used are eco-friendly.

There is a lot you can do to make your office more sustainable and eco-friendlier. To learn more, have a look at our post, Green Initiatives Your Office Should Be Investing In. Also, remember that making whatever small changes you can is better than doing nothing at all.

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