We are increasingly aware of the environmental decisions we make in our homes, but what of our workplaces? Do our good intentions extend to the places where we actually spend most of our time? There are a number of things we can do to make sure that our workplace is just as environmentally-friendly as our home.
Firstly, if you work in an office, there’s a good chance that you have a printer. Think about using recycled paper, and printing on both sides. Look into using refillable printer cartridges, to prevent plastic waste. Think twice before printing at all. Fountain pens – however antiquated they may sound – are a much greener option than plastic biros. Avoid staples, opting for paper clips instead wherever possible.
Choose environmentally-friendly cleaning materials. Not only are they better for the environment, but it will be healthier for you and your colleagues too.
Avoid single-use plastic – get a Keep Cup for hot drinks on your commute, a refillable bottle for cold drinks, and, if you eat lunch at work, use ‘proper’ cutlery and crockery rather than plastic. Avoid waste by buying and sharing condiments and staples such as tea and coffee with your colleagues. Recycle as much as possible – if there is a kitchen in your workplace, you may be able to arrange for your food waste to be collected. If you prefer to eat out at lunchtime, opt for an independent local café.
Make the most of natural light and ventilation. Not only will you feel better for it, but you’ll save resources too. Wear an extra layer rather than cranking up the heating in winter. Plants are a great addition to the workplace environment, too. Spider plants are particularly helpful, having been found to absorb the emissions from computers.
Think about your commute. Could you walk, cycle or take public transport to work rather than drive? You may even be able to car share with a colleague. As well as environmental benefits, this will save you time and money.
The constant stream of bad news may make the current damage to the environment seem overwhelming – but if many of us make even small changes, just think what a difference we could make.
Transition Dorking is part of the much larger Transition Movement, an international grass roots response to the challenges of sustainability and climate change. See www.transitiondorking.org.uk.
By Tara Craig