Unfortunately compared with your home-life when you are stuck at work, you are likely to have less control over the environmental impact you are having on the environment.
You may be lucky and the people you work for may make a conscious effort to minimize the environmental impact their business is having on the world, but this is unfortunately still not commonplace and companies tend to focus on profit rather than environmental issues. But remember that you yourself can always do something to improve your environment.
Fortunately, this is beginning to change and organizations are starting to see the benefits of managing their own environmental impact such as becoming carbon neutral, even some of the world’s biggest businesses such as Sky, Microsoft, Coca Cola, and UPS have all pledged to become carbon neutral.
If your employers are less environmentally inclined then don’t worry, there are still some easy little steps you can take to improve the environment and make a change while you’re at work.
Become personally carbon neutral
Your company may not have pledged to become carbon neutral but you can. Visit carbonify.com to find out how much carbon you emit on your daily commute to and from work, as well as generally in your life – then read on to find out ways you can offset your usage.
One of the simplest ways to achieve a personal commuting carbon reduction is to not commute at all. Okay for most people that is pretty much impossible but how about working from home for 1 day a week? Even one day a month would massively reduce the total carbon emission caused by a medium-sized company. Better still:
Cycle to work!
I’ll keep this short because your annoyingly smug colleague already rants on about how you should cycle to work because you ‘only live just up the road’. The fact is for a lot of people cycling to work is just not an option, but for many, it is the best option:
- 75% of people could cycle to work in under 30 minutes (UK survey)
- You will be much fitter – a middle-aged cyclist is typically as fit as someone 10 years younger.
- Cycling to work can be twice as fast as in a car that is stuck in traffic.
- *You will instantly become better looking and more popular.
Okay, enough said on that one. (*Might not be entirely true)
Unfortunately, if your workplace is like most, then the promises of becoming ‘paper-free’ probably haven’t come true. But let’s get one thing straight, recycling is boring, people hear the word recycling and immediately switch off, thinking about biscuits or something more interesting like paint drying.
But luckily it is also very easy and once you’ve set the ball rolling it’s no more difficult than binning something normally is.
1. Printer cartridges – rather than tossing these in the bin and condemning them to sit at the bottom of the sea for 2 million years, find where you can recycle them locally. You might be able to have them refilled more cheaply than buying new ones, you might be able to donate them to your local favorite charity who can make money out of them. There are hundreds of ways to cleanly get rid of them, find out more here: actionaidrecycling.org.uk
2. Paper – This is an easy one if you’re not already recycling paper then you should feel slightly ashamed of yourself right now. It takes a ridiculous amount of trees to keep up with paper demands (LINK). If you start recycling paper today you will personally contribute to less deforestation. Start now.
3. As Leo Hickman said ‘If each one of the UK’s ten million office workers used one less staple a day, 120 tonnes of steel would be saved every year’. So if you are one of those stationary nerds and you feel the need to unnecessarily staple EVERYTHING; then don’t. Use a paper clip instead, they are nearly as good and you can re-use them until the day they disappear from your life forever, which eventually happens to all paperclips, luckily though somebody else is probably just using it.
10 Other little steps to get you started
You’ve got the gist now and nobody likes a know-it-all so you can figure out why these ones are good all by yourself:
- Buy locally grown food for lunch;
- start a pool car system;
- unplug things that don’t need to be plugged in;
- turn your computer off more;
- don’t use disposal cups;
- don’t print emails;
- use both sides of the paper;
- turn all the lights off when you’re not in and at night;
- don’t fly as much;
- just be a nice person.