A little green in the office goes a long way

If you are renovating your office, then you should consider going green! Re-furnish your office with eco-friendly office ware

If you are looking to improve your corporate social responsibility policies for 2014, then you may be reconsidering how eco-friendly you workplace is. There’s a huge emphasis on ‘going green’ in every sector of the economy, so it’s never been easier to get on the trend and minimise your impact on the environment.

There are endless benefits to functioning in this manner, both internally and externally. By introducing a ‘green’ policy to your company you are not only improving your company’s reputation, which could win you more clients and greater public approval, but you will also be saving energy, saving money and perhaps even time if you are replacing certain items on a less regular basis. That money and time you are saving can be put back into the company and be used. Internally, if employees are encouraged to put their paper waste in the recycling bin and print fewer documents they in themselves may feel better. The potential savings your company could make through resource efficiency and waste stoppage is an opportunity for growth that is recognised by the UK government.

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The UK government are pushing to work towards a ‘zero waste economy’ where resources are valued financially and environmentally. The waste prevention programme, outlined specifically for England, sets out to ‘encourage businesses to contribute to a more sustainable economy by building waste reduction into design, offering alternative business models and delivering new and improved products and services’. The programme is in place to encourage and support them throughout the process by ‘encouraging a culture of valuing resources by making it easier for people and businesses to find out how to reduce their waste, to use products for longer, repair broken items, and enable reuse of items by others’.

Whether you are moving office, welcoming new employees (or saying goodbye to old ones), or you just need of an office revamp then we recommend you start thinking about all the waste you create and find out how you can minimise this in the future. According to Defra, the UK wastes around 177 million tonnes of waste every year. Research has shown that, on average, a single employee generates about 200kg of waste every year. Multiply this by the number of employees you have and you’ll have a rough idea of how much waste, as a unit, you produce.

Implementing a policy like this means more thought will have to go into purchasing decisions. It is likely that you will start small by buying recycled paper and encouraging participation in an office recycling scheme. No company owner has to implement every idea under the sun, but they should work with employees and encourage positive schemes like this to naturally grow in size and scale over time. Below are some conventional (and not so conventional!) things you could buy in the future:

Office Space and Communal Areas
The key first purchase will be the recycle bins. Make sure you have separate bins for un-recyclable materials, food waste, plastic and paper. You may also want to have a separate bin for all electronic waste so this can be dealt with appropriately.

Office Furniture and Lighting
Believe it or not, cardboard desks, cupboards, shelving and cabinets do exist and they are eco-friendly as they are 100% sustainable and recyclable. However, perhaps a more serious idea would be to use reclaimed desks. If you have the budget for it you could even buy some antique Victorian ones.

In terms of desk lighting, you will save money when purchasing energy efficient desk lamps. For general office lighting, invest in energy saving light bulbs.

Office Products and Desk Accessories
It is easier than ever now to purchase eco-friendly pens, pencils, highlighters, staplers and the like. It is likely your supplier will already offer eco-friendly office products.

Unfortunately printing from any printer wastes a lot of energy. But here is a handy guide to help you use your printer in a more eco-friendly manner.

Picture taken by Spaceo.

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