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World’s Earth Day – Tips for sustaining the environment at work

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As World’s Earth Day approaches, it’s crucial that we do our part in protecting our planet, both as individuals and as part of our community.

Not surprisingly, our places of work can affect the environment either positively or negatively to a very large scale. Now that we have returned to the office, we should be raising awareness on how eco-friendly your employer is when it comes to consuming energy in order to cool and heat the rooms, to get materials delivered and to dispose of waste.

Big buildings usually consume a high volume of non-renewable energy, and heating and air conditioning generates greenhouse gas emissions. To list a few more examples on how running an office can damages the environment:

  • Many buildings are built from materials that don’t come from renewable sources.
  • Office buildings deploy a large amount of electricity to power lighting, computers, printers, etc… Equipment may be left on 24 hours a day, seven days a week — even when no one’s actively in the office.

  • Offices consume vast amounts of paper. Even with more offices recycling paper, a large amount of paper waste still goes to landfill sites or incinerators.

  • Additional waste can come from equipment (especially computers), since companies regularly upgrade their equipment to mould to the market’s needs. Electronics such as photocopiers and computers can end up in landfills, where they don’t break down and, even worse, can leak harmful chemicals into the ground and water.

  • Rush-hour traffic before and after work are wasting people’s time and polluting the atmosphere.

 

While some of these factors can be out of our control, there are some steps that we, as individuals, can take to minimise our impact on the enviroment whilst at work:

Paper

Ask yourself: do I really need to print this? Most of paper wastage in the office can be avoided. There are many companies that do not keep up with technology and use paper copies to file documents instead of storing them digitally. Instead of printing a document, share it with colleagues using cloud-based collaboration softwares.

Plastic / Metals

If your company is still using paper or plastic cups to distribute water, try to avoid it and use your mug instead….and try to pack your lunch in reusable glass tupperwares!

Also, many companies use wasteful coffee machines, where each cup requires the use of a small capsule. Even though these coffee capsules can be recycled, the truth is that most are thrown out with general rubbish. They are also most likely more expensive than a normal drip brewer. One per day equals approximately 250 capsules per year per employee.

Technology

We all know it, the pandemic has made many of us realise that what can be done in the office can (mostly!) be done from our home desks. If all the employees who are in the position to work from home (full or part time) could take advantage of this opportunity  pollution from commuting would be reduced and the company would save space, power and additional resources in terms of equipment.

 

This year’s World’s Earth Day is all about “Invest In Our Planet.” The idea behind this theme is to encourage governments, corporations, and private citizens to take concrete steps toward following more sustainable practices, buying from greener companies, and taking more of an active role in the Earth’s wellbeing.

 

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