Making small changes to the everyday things we do in our daily lives is a great way to reduce our personal carbon footprint. There's also plenty that can be done in our professional lives too. My philosophy involves integrating sustainability into every project that I work on, and my workspace is set up to run as efficiently as possible, with minimal environmental impact. Creating an eco-friendly workspace makes sense not only because it's the right thing to do, but because economically, it also makes good business sense.
Here are a few ways your business can easily (and inexpensively) transition to being more eco-friendly.
I actually don't have a printer in my workspace! And so far, even as a designer, this hasn't caused any problems for me. But of course, for a lot of businesses, a printer is still a necessity, however even making printing inconvenient, or implementing ways of asking employees to consciously decide if hitting 'print' is completely necessary will help to reduce those reams of (ideally, 100% post-consumer recycled waste) office paper.
Use natural lighting
I'm lucky to live in a very sunny part of the world, so utilising natural light to brighten up my workspace is a no-brainer. If you don't have the good fortune of having 15 hours of sunlight at your disposal, then LED lights are the most eco-friendly option for the lights in your office. Check your bulbs and switch to LEDs for a quick energy (and cost) saving.
Solar power is another option if your budget allows. Of course there's an initial investment, but you will likely see a positive financial return in the long run.
Use indoor plants to decorate the space
Plants don't only look pretty, but did you know they can also counteract the nasty chemicals often found in workspaces?
Studies have shown that the humble indoor plant can help reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air-conditioned offices, and by about 25% in buildings without air conditioning.
Having plants in the office also help to reduce stress, improve productivity and reduce sickness, so there's plenty of reasons why bringing some nature indoors is a good thing.
Remove the bin
This might seem extreme, but it might also urge you to remember that when we throw something away, it's not really gone. Everything has to go somewhere. If removing the rubbish bin entirely is not an option for your workplace, then installing a simple, easily accessible recycling (and composting) station is the next best thing.
Drink sustainably grown tea and coffee
Understand where your tea and coffee comes from and how it's grown. Or if you go out for your tea breaks, take a reusable cup with you.
And do you take milk in your tea or coffee? Studies show that the greenhouse gas emissions used in the production of plant-based milks are much lower than for dairy milk.
Don't forget the toilet paper!
There are a number of recycled toilet paper options available, and some really fun companies doing great things to produce toilet paper that literally doesn't cost the earth.
Of course, there's a whole lot more that can be done to make sure your workspace is as eco-friendly as possible, but just by implementing even a few of the above tips, you'll be well on your way to living and working a greener, more sustainable life.