Many of us have been making efforts in our personal lives to be more environmentally friendly. Making these changes can require some work, but are more than worth it. However, many of us forget to keep making these efforts one we walk into the office. A lot of what we do in this office is far from eco-friendly and we often don’t even realize it. Making a large space like an office filled with sometimes hundreds of people can be a huge challenge, but it’s something we all need to start doing.

Here are ten ways you can help create a more eco-friendly office. 

1. Build a Sustainability Team

Before you start making your office more eco-friendly, you need people who will create and implement these changes. To make sure you have the right people involved who will keep this process organized, create a sustainability team. Your office’s sustainability team can come up with ideas and introduce them to the rest of the company. This ensures that everything is being done in a timely manner and all of your efforts can easily be tracked.

2. Invest in Eco-Friendly Appliances

Office spaces are filled with appliances that can be harmful to the environment. When you’re at home, you might opt for eco-friendly choices like opening the windows on a sunny day rather than turning on the lights, but things like this aren’t possible in an office. You can’t do anything about the fact that you need office lights turned on for hours every day, but you can make better choices about what you buy, like energy-efficient light bulbs. Many everyday office appliances have eco-friendly versions available that are a more responsible option to buy. Sonya Schwartz with Her Norm has made numerous small swap outs to be more eco-friendly and noticed that the small changes really started to add up. “No matter how big or small, all our efforts to help take care of the environment can contribute to improving sustainability.”

3. Start Recycling

If your office isn’t already recycling, it’s time to get started. Recycling is one of the simplest things your office can do to become greener. Even small offices create a large amount of waste, so it’s important to recycle as many things as possible. You might also use this time to educate your employees on what exactly they’re able to recycle depending on your location. You might have single-use items that you use all the time that you aren’t aware can be recycled. Look into every option when it comes to recycling, even computers and other electronics need to be recycled properly. 

4. Buy Reusable Products

Single-use products are a huge waste, especially considering that many of them can be bought in a reusable form. If you have plastic cups or water bottles in the office, get rid of them, and encourage employees to bring in their own reusable water bottle. This goes for everything you might use, like utensils, muds, and straws. Make sure dish soap is available so that everyone can keep their items clean. You can even buy branded items for your employees to encourage them to use them more often. 

5. Decorate With Office Plants

Offices often struggle with poor air quality. Bringing plants into the office can help improve the air while also making you feel a little greener. There are many plants that you can buy that grow perfectly fine in an office setting and can help filter the air. This doesn’t just make your office look great, but having a plant to take care of and enjoy can do a little to improve people’s moods during the day. 

Victoria Stratton with Health Labs told us that this was one simple and easy way to make the office more green what has the added bonus of making your office more stylish. “Decorate! We’ve added plants in every office, like Peace Lilies, to clean the air and reduce carbon emissions. Plus it looks great!”

6. Set Lights to a Timer

We all forget to turn the lights off when we leave a room. At home, this might not seem like a huge issue if it’s only one light, but in an office, it can be dozens. Turning off the lights before leaving is easy to forget, which is why you should start setting them to a timer. You might not be able to do this where everyone sits, as it may shut the lights off when you’re hard at work, but other spaces can benefit greatly from it. Areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and hallways don’t get used constantly all day long, but their lights are probably still on. This can help you save a lot of energy that you might not know is being wasted. 

7. Make An Effort to Use Less Paper

It can be difficult to break old habits, but in many workspaces, there isn’t much need for paper anymore. Much of what we once needed paper for can now all be done on the computer, so you can cut back on a lot of the paper you normally need. Of course, you can recycle used paper, but if you can avoid using things you don’t need to begin with, that’s even better yet. Even small things like writing in notepads are something you can switch to using an electronic device for. 

Yulia Vinokurova with Chanty told us just how simple cutting back on or cutting out paper completely from your office can be. “One of the best ways to make your office eco-friendly is to go completely paperless. We don’t have anything on paper in the office now and we opted to receive all of our bills through email. When we do need to write something down, we use a whiteboard.”

8. Encourage Carpools

Chances are, many of your employees drive to work. If you’re lucky, your drive might be 10-15 minutes, but many people drive over a half hour both ways to work. Motor vehicles are a huge cause of pollution, and it might seem unavoidable when you have to get to work, but you can still cut back on the negative impact you have. Many of the people you work with are probably from the same neighborhoods and can take turns carpooling to work to reduce the number of cars on the road. You can put up a sign-up sheet for people who are interested in participating so they can find people who live near them to team up with. This isn’t only great for the environment, but people can also save on gas money. 

9. Start-Eco Friendly Challenges

A great way to get everyone excited about getting eco-friendly is to start challenges in the office. Awards work well to help incentivize this process. You can give people the chance to win things like gift cards or time off when they make efforts to help make the office more eco-friendly. This gives people a way to enjoy being more environmentally friendly and gives them something to enjoy.

10. Use Renewable Energy 

One goal that you might set for the future is to switch your office to a renewable energy source, if possible. This can be an initially expensive and time-consuming switch, so make this a long-term goal for your company. This is one of the biggest things for an office to do to become eco-friendly and it isn’t always easy, but it’s something great to consider for businesses that are able to do so.