This year marks the 46th annual Earth Day, a worldwide event that was established in 1970 in an effort to exhibit support for environmental protection. Among the billions of people that plan to celebrate today’s event, leaders from over 160 countries will also be taking part in celebrations as they sign the Paris climate agreement. The agreement, which began its initial stages back in 2011 and was completed just last year, will primarily focus on combating the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
For the rest of us working folk, Earth Day is just another day at the office. Sure, we may be a bit more conscientious and recycle a couple pieces of paper and feel as though we did our part, but the reality is that few workplaces actually take part in celebrating this global event. In an effort to step up our own game, we’ve put together a list of five ways you can help your office go green this Earth Day!
- Start An Office Fundraiser
Gather a couple employees and send them out on a mission to collect donations throughout the office. With the proceeds you collect, look into purchasing a tree or plant that can be placed outside the office. It’s a great way to give back to the environment, and it also serves as an exceptional team building exercise.
- Substitute Paper For An Environmentally Friendly Alternative
It is estimated that the average US office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper on a yearly basis. That’s a lot of paper. One way we can help cut this number back is by looking at alternative solutions for note taking and other written-driven tasks. Some office buildings are turning towards dry erase surfaces to decrease paper waste (who can blame them?), while others are turning to the likes of digital technology to lighten their carbon footprint.
- Do Away With Disposables
Disposable utensils have become somewhat commonplace in the office environment. Typically used as a substitute for coffee mugs, Styrofoam cups are the highest circulated form of disposable in the office industry and can take up to 500 years to fully decompose. Most disposables like Styrofoam are non-biodegradable while a select few can be recycled. Environmentalists suggest doing away with disposables entirely, in favor of mugs and other glassware. However, if glassware does not seem like a viable option for you, the city of Portland offers a tremendous amount of information regarding disposables that are deemed ‘environmentally friendly’ by government standards.
- Turn Off The Lights
It doesn’t make much sense to keep a set of lights on when no one is around. A cheap and easy way to help your office go green is to turn off lights and other electronics when they’re not in use. Electricity is manufactured with the help of non-renewable resources like coal and natural gas. All fossil fuels eventually build into carbon dioxide, adding further damage to our ozone. While our usage of electricity is inevitable, turning off unneeded electronics can help your company save a few dollars on your electricity bill while simultaneously making an impact on the environment.
- Set Up Designated Recycling Stations Around The Office
Recycling is the most common in-house effort that many offices are taking to lighten their carbon footprint. If your office is currently recycling paper, here are a few ways you can maximize your efforts:
- Survey your workplace and figure out what exactly is going in the trash. Is it recyclable? If so, perhaps look into adding a new collection area or initiative for the waste.
- Conduct some research on local and state agencies that recycle ink cartridges and electronic devices. You may be able to make a few extra bucks recycling old goods, as sites like Gazelle will pay for your old electronics.
- Purchase a compost tumbler for the office! Compost tumblers are a great way to get rid of organic waste while giving back to the environment. These are especially useful for companies that require yearly landscaping maintenance.
It doesn't have to be Earth Day to take care of the environment. Feel free to invite your office to take part in the celebration year round in an effort help keep our planet sustainable and healthy!