Ecofriendly workplace
Sustainable life

How to create an eco-friendly workplace (part 1)

I think we all know what happens once anyone consciously starts paying enough attention to the state of the environment and wants to take action: they jump into the crazy rabbit hole of eco-friendliness and in most cases begin revolutionising their entire life.

A typical journey usually tackles food or cosmetics first, then hopefully means of transport, clothes, daily objects, habits, passions, hopefully relationships. It’s a process that leads each of us to rediscover the purest greenery, the genuine simplicity in our life. And once you get a taste, you won’t do without it ever again.

Chronologically, the latest area I’ve been trying to make more sustainable in my life is my workspace. What’s better than a clean, low-impact work environment to be more positively “productive”? I took small steps that slowly became habits, and even managed to introduce other people around me to the magic world of the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle).

However, it’s not my intention to focus only on material eco-friendliness. Indeed, I’ll also tackle a somehow intersectional eco-friendliness, which is more related to a personal dimension, as you’ll see in the second part of the article ????.

So here are my fundamental small practical steps to an eco-friendly workplace that won’t even make you spend too much money or sacrifice style, should that be a huge issue for you.

Reuse, reduce, recycle!

1. Reuse, reduce, recycle it’s a very well-known mantra that has been accompanying us for many years now and can be applied to any dimension of our life. It boils down to consuming less and better, reusing whatever we already have as much as we can, and disposing of waste properly (i.e. in the correct bins) if we must throw it away. Personally, I believe reducing is the most effective “R”: if we consume less, there’s less stuff to reuse and dispose of. It requires a bit more planning and attention, but c’mon, aren’t we those smart human beings that can manage all these things and even more after all? ????

2. A good example of the three R-s in action is related to the use of paper: avoid printing if you can. Print double-sided if you can’t. And what if you have several cuts of blank papers scattered all over the room and just want to throw them in the bin? Stop! Make a notepad out of them. And ditch post-its, which you might probably lose somewhere anyway.

3. Ever thought about a water dispenser for your company/office? It’s rather common to see such dispensers nowadays, yet there are still many places where they simply don’t exist (where vending machines crammed with plastic bottles do succeed). I find it useful to always have fresh water available at hand, water I can easily drink from my own cup or bottle. This brings us to the next point.

4. Bring your own reusable cups. Plastic bottles? Plastic cups from vending machines? Nah. You can use your own sustainable, more hygienic cup. You just need to place it in coffee machines, water dispensers or wherever needed, fill it up and, well, enjoy your liquid. Also, if you’re a manager, another great step ahead might be getting custom bottles for your employees so as to more easily promote sustainable habits among them.

5. If you’re using office supplies, you might switch to eco-friendlier ones. Ideas include compostable stationery and notebooks, sprout pencils, refillable pens and markers, bamboo boards. Generally, the rule of thumb is preferring plastic-free items and packaging.

6. Furniture and décor are key components of any office, be it at home or in a company’s building. Opting for second-hand, refurbished furniture might be a good solution and might as well give your office a slightly vintage touch. You may also decide to embellish rooms with indoor house plants: they purify the air and provide a certain relaxed atmosphere.

7. Embrace natural light! It’s better to keep curtains and blinds open and – hopefully – enjoy the sunlight. It’ll reduce your energy consumption, save you money on electricity bills and will certainly be a healthier choice for your eyes.

8. What about your digital carbon footprint? We’ve seen that the internet may contribute to polluting the environment if its services exploit energy from fossil fuels. You may therefore green up your digital habits by switching to a sustainable search engine, reducing the number of emails, watch low-resolution videos when necessary. More on this here!

9. And when you’re not using them and/or you’re leaving the room, turn computers and lights off. Unplug any device that is uselessly consuming energy (e.g. smartphones’ chargers nobody is actually using) and switch to energy-saving modes when using electronic devices.

10. Have you ever considered donating? Perhaps you’re moving into another building, or you may have decided to get rid of things you no longer use, simplify and opt for a minimalist approach to manage your office. If that’s the case, you might take into consideration the opportunity to donate the materials and furniture you don’t need to other people, charities or organisations that may instead need them or make something useful out of them.

That’s the end of part one completely dedicated to a 10-step list to have a more liveable workplace. Do you have any other interesting ideas? If so, please, feel free to mention it in the comments. I’m curious to see what else we can do to improve our workspace!

And go check the second part if you need some ideas on how to improve your workplace 🙂


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