Sustainability at the Workplace

Encouraging your employer to adopt sustainable practices can be a tough sell. This is especially true if your employer thinks adopting new changes will cost the company money. There are plenty of benefits for your employer to consider and you might be the one who highlights those benefits for them.  Thinking back to the last office job I had I can come up with a few small changes that would have reduced the company’s ecological footprint.

  • ·      Turning off computer equipment at the end of the day
  • ·      Switch to energy-efficient lighting
  • ·      Switching to reusable coffee cups instead of polystyrene (Styrofoam) 
  • ·      Encourage carpooling and cycling or walking
  • ·      Set printers to print double sided to save on paper consumption
  • ·      Set timers on lights and air-conditioning systems
  • ·      Update old appliances to energy efficient models

This is just a short list of a few changes that would help that particular employer to reduce and be more sustainable. Encouraging your employer to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts leads to a more enjoyable work environment and CAN also result in significant cost savings.

One major and simple change is to avoid using polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups.  Polystyrene is bad for the environment but is also bad for your health. Certain plastics require petroleum to make and difficult to break down by the environment. It is estimated that polystyrene can take up to 500 years to decompose. Styrofoam is a major environmental problem and makes up about 25 to 30% of landfill space around the world. 

Polystyrene releases potentially toxic chemicals, particularly when heated, that can leach into food and drink. As an alternative stock the office kitchen with ceramic mugs and glassware. This simple change will save the company money, reduce waste, and prevents harmful leaching of chemicals into the environment.