As the implications of climate change become clearer and clearer, more and more people are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. And since many of us spend most of our time at the office, it only makes sense to focus on reducing our carbon footprint while at work.
But how do you actually accomplish this?
Well, we’re here to help you with that. Here are 10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint at work:
Replace your desktop with a laptop
Since laptops consume up to 80% less energy than desktops, it is best for the environment if you swap out the latter for the former. And to save more energy, you can set your laptop to go into power saver mode when it’s idle.
Also, don’t forget to shut it down and unplug it when you’re done with all your work for the day.
Avoid driving to work
According to ABC News, the average American commutes 16 miles to and from work every day. Considering an average car travels between 18 to 35 miles per gallon of fuel and a single gallon contributes to up to 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, it is clear we have a problem on our hands.
This is further compounded by the fact that many American households have more than one car, particularly favoring one car per worker.
As such, one of the best ways to reduce your work-related carbon footprint is to avoid driving altogether. This could mean using public transportation or carpooling with some of your colleagues. B
etter still, you could walk or cycle to work. This way you can put in some exercise and even make some new friends along the way.
Not printing everything is yet another effective way to reduce your carbon footprint at work. Not only does it keep you from wasting paper but it also saves the energy that your printer would have used.
A good way to do this is by embracing digital tools and practices like electronically sharing documents and creating digital schedules. With just a little initiative, you and your colleagues will realize that you don’t need to print frequently.
But if you must print, use both sides of the paper and opt for an energy-efficient printer, preferably an ENERGY STAR certified one. Also, it is best to work with a machine that can do everything you need be it printing, scanning, or copying.
And don’t forget to turn it off when it’s not in use.
Carry your own lunch
While it might be tempting to drive off to your favorite restaurant during lunch every day, it is not good for the environment. Instead, you could look for a great local place that you could walk to or just carry your own lunch.
And if you’re really looking for a big change you could even eat vegetarian, even if it’s for one day per week.
After all, vegetarians save up to 3000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year when compared to meat-eaters.
Avoid packaged water
Plastic water bottles not only contribute to large amounts of greenhouse gases but also can’t biodegrade. As such, it is best to just avoid them.
This could mean carrying your own reusable water, using tap water, or even suggesting that the office get a filter.
Consider working from home sometimes
If you don’t need to be in the office every day, it would be a great idea to have work-from-home days.
With tools like Skype, Zoom, and Slack, you can attend meetings and complete many tasks from the comfort of your home. And who knows? The absence of a commute could be good for your mental health as well.
Turn off the lights when you leave
Just like at home, leaving the lights on in empty office spaces is a major waste of energy. So, always ensure you turn them off when you leave an office or board room.
You could even go as far as requesting energy-saving LED lights. This way, you will reduce both your carbon footprint and company operational costs at once.
Avoid single-use plastic
Single use-plastic is really bad for the environment.
Not only does it require a significant amount of energy to manufacture and recycle, but it is also a major source of pollution. It can easily end up in waterways and oceans, causing great harm to aquatic life. That’s why avoiding this type of plastic can drastically bring down your carbon footprint.
And doing it is not even that difficult. For one, you could start carrying your own coffee mug and cutlery, eliminating the need to use disposable ones.
Reuse and recycle
Whether you are dealing with IT equipment, paper, or even pens, always look for ways to reduce waste.
Reuse what you can and recycle everything that is recyclable. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Reduce the number of office deliveries and errands
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to properly coordinate all your out-of-office trips.
For instance, if there is no rush, you can pile everything that needs to be delivered to the post office to be taken at the end of the week instead of going daily.
Also, you can coordinate with suppliers to ensure that everything is delivered in as few trips as possible.
This may mean choosing a few days a month for the deliveries to be done. Or you could get everything delivered in bulk in one trip and store it at a centralized location.
You could even go as far as using reusable containers – the less the packaging material per delivery the better.
Just be attentive
As long as you are attentive, you will easily spot other ways to reduce your carbon footprint at work.
Since you are the one involved in daily company operations, it is easy for you to spot cogs in the system. With an open mind and some initiative, you can reduce your carbon footprint and that of the entire organization!