Sustainable Business: 7 Ways To Create an Eco-Friendly Office Space
Running a business, ethically driven or not, can be super stressful and extremely overwhelming. Even more so when words such as sustainability, ethical and eco-friendly are being thrown around and you’re meant to just know exactly how you can make your small biz all that bit more green. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. Creating an eco-friendly office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your money, your businesses needs or personal style. To show you how, we’ve put together some easy tips on how to turn to home office into a conscious and creative space.
If your business requires printing, or if you’re anything like me and prefer to jot down notes on a physical pad, switching to recycled paper and business cards, compostable notebooks and responsibly sourced wooden pencils are some of the easiest places to start. Once you’ve used what you already have (which is more sustainable than throwing away and buying new), choose products with green certifications or those that have been recycled or repurposed, next time you’re in an office supply store. If you want to go a step further, there are plenty of stationary brands that give back to social or environmental causes.
Take advantage of natural light by opening curtains and blinds. This won’t only save you money on electricity bills, but it will also reduce your energy consumption. If you’re located in a warm climate, light-coloured walls are ideal. While darker colours are better at maintaining heat.
Decorate your space with indoor house plants. They help to restore any imbalance in the office environment, purify the air by reducing pollutants and certain plants such as succulents, take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Additionally, try to stick to native plants!
Reduce, reuse, recycle
You’ve probably heard these 3 words before, maybe because you’ve listened to Jack Johnston’s song, or more likely, because they’re associated with sustainable business practices. Firstly, reduce waste by going paperless or setting printers to double-sided printing; scan or email documents instead; use apps or online planners to create notes and schedules; turn lights off when leaving the room; turn laptops off at night or when they’re not in use; and use energy saving modes when using electronic devices. Reuse packaging, boxes and paper, and only use reusable coffee cups, cutlery and plates. Also try to use paperclips over stables. Aim for your business to use sustainable packaging Recycle everything you possibly can. Learn the different types of plastics and find out what items can be recycled in your area. Remember recycling doesn’t only apply to plastics and paper, you can also recycle anything from ink used cartridges, old pens and even broken electronic devices.
Did you know that the internet is actually made up of interconnected physical infrastructures which consume natural resources in order for us to watch a Netflix documentary? A study undertaken in 2015 suggests global internet activity is actually responsible for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions - similar to air travel. Although in the scheme of things, individual searches have a relatively low impact, why not make your internet scrolling, message sending and YouTube watching eco-friendly by switching to a sustainable search engine and reducing your carbon footprint just that little bit more?
After using up what you already have, why not then look into greener options? Whether it’s plastic-free packaging, organic cotton, upcycled fabrics, natural ingredients or reusable containers - there’s basically an eco-friendly alternative for everything. You could even check out second hand tools, upcycled furniture or bamboo floor boards. But remember, sustainability covers the whole lifecycle of an item, from its manufacturing process to its end life. So, put your critical thinking hat on!
Whether you decide to regularly donate to social or environment organisations, promote and support brands doing good online or only invest in conscious businesses for your office needs and business materials - giving back is an essential part of making your business green at heart. But don’t just stop at giving back within your office space offset your travel emissions, visit and partner with social enterprises, volunteer your time or hold a fundraiser.
Related: 7 Things You Should Be Doing to Save the Environment