Going green at your office can help decrease your company’s environmental footprint and boost workplace cooperation. By putting together a “green team,” you’ll create an environment of goodwill inside your company that feeds into employee morale. In addition, a green team will allow members of your staff to work together and build meaningful relationships for a stronger, healthier workplace.
Know the Basics
Use some statistics to encourage participation and recruit your green team. For example, according to Boston College, Massachusetts businesses waste enough office paper every year to fill Fenway Park to the height of the Prudential Building — 749 feet in the air.
Once you have a green team, your office needs to comply with some basic recycling practices. The company’s office manager should be on the team, and they can coordinate with the cleaning crew to help you add blue recycling bins around the office. Generally, those blue bins are for paper products. However, have the office manager investigate your city’s recycling options to ensure the office waste gets properly recycled at night. Some cities, like Portland, Oregon, will have official departments to help you go green in the workplace.
Educate the Staff
Educate your workplace with specific instructions as to what’s recyclable and how to do it. In some cities, you can put any paper products in the blue bins. Cans and plastic bottles might have to be separated. Sometimes all recycling material can co-mingle.
Believe it or not, a recycling program at work could bring up feelings of guilt when some employees don’t know how to recycle. The more you can educate everyone about what and how to recycle, the more successful you’ll be in going green. Ask everyone to take one last step every day — flip the switch on the power strip. According to environmental advocacy website Earth2017, turning off the power to computers and printers at the end of the day can save up to 5 percent on energy bills.
With a bit of homework, you can determine how much printer paper and ink you’ve purchased in the last year. Try to reduce that by 25 percent in the first year. Then again by another 25 percent the following year. Your employees will be motivated when you update your progress on a weekly or monthly basis. Take those savings and put the money into a fund for an office party. Collect your bottles and cans and donate the funds to a charity, or add the money to the office party fund.
You won’t go green on your own. A successful recycling program in your office will take time and effort. If every department has a representative on the green team, you’ll see a boost in the cross-functionality of your staff. While working towards the company’s goals is part of employee motivation, working together for the greater good of environmentalism will be an added boost for you and your staff.
Dylan Murray has an MBA from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Boston University. He is a licensed insurance agent in California, but he works as a professional researcher and writer reporting on business trends in estate law, insurance and private security. Dylan has worked as a script analyst with the Sundance Institute and the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles. He lives in San Diego, California, and Marseille, France.