For many businesses, a sustainable office isn’t just a good idea, but a corporate mandate. These companies have turned green initiatives and office sustainability into part of their image and made it a competitive advantage.
The goal of lean, the management technique pioneered by Toyota, is to eliminate waste, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Today, businesses are using lean concepts to save time and money. They eliminate mistakes and waste to increase productivity.
For many companies, making the complete switch to a lean initiative is difficult, but starting an office sustainability project or a green initiative is easy. It’s a project everyone in the office can get behind and is the first step on a sustainable, and profitable, lean initiative.
7 Helpful Tips for a Sustainable Office
Getting started with a sustainable office is easy. Let’s look at seven easy-to-implement green office tips you can use for a more sustainable business.
1. Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
Did you know that electronic waste, including toner cartridges, account for 70% of the total toxic waste added to the ecosystem each year? Worst of all – remanufactured toner cartridges are wasted money the business could profit from.
There are organizations available to aid in recycling toner and ink cartridges. Reach out to one to get started. Set-up a process in the office to remove and recycle toner and ink cartridges, and make sure to post it near printers. Also keep a log of toner and ink cartridges to enforce recycling.
2. Office Recycling Program
Recycling programs in the office are one the quickest and easiest ways to get started with office sustainability and green initiatives. It’s also a program that everyone will recognize and immediately support.
Start with paper recycling bins in the office. A good rule of thumb is to also have one available for every 10 employees. Keep them in convenient locations and make them easy-to-use.
Next, place a can and bottle recycling bin in the lunch room and break room. Assign people to empty the bins and post how and when items are sent to the recycling center.
3. Reduce Paper Use
Recycling paper is an excellent first step. An even better step is eliminating paper use. While a paperless office is a goal, it is a stretch goal for many businesses. Your first step should be to reduce paper use as much as possible. Needless printing is a habit that is easier to break than you think.
If you can, try to save files as a PDF. This makes those files easier to store and retrieve. Also look at programs like PrintReleaftm which reduces the impact of printing by planting trees in reforestation projects.
4. Reduce Waste
We’ve already looked at reducing waste with paper and toner cartridges. Now look at other processes in the office to identify additional areas to reduce waste.
For example, consider how stationery is used. There may be an opportunity to reduce waste with e-notes rather than paper notes. Consider reducing costs by making sure you aren’t throwing away extra food and coffee at the end of the day.
5. Reduce Electricity Use
Do a quick audit of the lighting in the office. You would be surprised how many empty conference rooms are lit all day, or how many lights are left on for no reason.
Try to cut back on the lights you use. Post notes in the office reminding everyone to turn off lights when possible. Also look at turning off the screen savers on computers. Letting screens go dim, rather than a rotating screen saver, will save electricity.
6. Promote Carpooling and Cycling
Carpooling is not only an excellent green initiative for office sustainability, it’s also a great way to increase employee engagement. Set-up a simple reward system for employees that car pool. For example, an assigned parking spot for the car poolers.
Even better than carpooling is cycling. It’s not only a green initiative, it promotes good health. Add a reward for the employees who bike to work like an extra day off for every 30 days you bike. These simple programs are a benefit to office sustainability.
7. Buy Local
Unnecessary shipping adds to your carbon footprint. Buying local not only promotes local businesses, it reduces your carbon footprint.
Look for locally-sourced and environmentally-friendly office supplies. Consider your supply chain and identify opportunities for improvement. It is often much easier to go green with office supplies and use sustainably-sourced suppliers than you might have ever imagined.
Embracing Office Sustainability and Green Initiatives Today
By implementing an office sustainability plan, you can turn green initiatives into a competitive business advantage.
Embrace these lean office concepts and green office tips such as remanufactured toner cartridges, and you’ll see a more productive and engaged work force. Your team will be ready and willing to take on even bigger challenges.
Contact Advanced Imaging Supply to learn more about office sustainability and how they can help with your green initiatives.