Recycling has forced it’s way into public consciousness over the last few years. Gone are the days when green living is just a concern of eco warriors and hippies, now all of us are doing our bit to help mother earth. This is partly due to the fact that the government has placed greater emphasis on encouraging individuals to recycle and enforcing fines on those who refuse to comply. There was a 235% increase in the amount of waste recycled between 2000 and 2010. In 2009/2010, compost was the main component of all recycled waste, comprising 40% all in all. It’s become generally accepted by all that it’s a good thing to domestically recycle and the planet is a better place for it.
But do we do enough when it comes to recycling when we are at work?
Sadly, probably not. When we’re at home we are more than happy to separate paper from plastic, compost at the bottom of the garden and line our roofs with insulation but when we’re at work it’s all about getting through the day as quickly as possible, and recycling doesn’t really get a look in.
Fortunately, businesses seem to be getting wise to the importance of ‘going green’. According to recent research, computers and other work based technology contribute to a staggering 4% of the world’s carbon emissions. The number of computers that are left on standby overnight is worrying. Thankfully employers seem to be placing greater emphasis on the importance of switching an appliance off at the mains if it is not in use.
One of the best things to come out of living in a technological age is the use of email. Email is environmentally friendly as it means that businesses are using less paper in their day to day communications. Emails are now only really printed out when it is completely necessary, which should not be very often. Even when emails are printed out, more and more companies are using recycled paper for their in house communications.
Second hand office furnishings are being used more and more often. Why pay over the odds for brand new office furniture when second hand furniture can be procured much more cheaply in next to new condition? Not only does this benefit the environment but it also enables a company to save money in the budget. It could even be put towards the Christmas party, thus giving employees more of an incentive to recycle themselves.
One of the biggest wastes that takes place in the office is the waste of paper. Simply by placing recycling bins in convenient places in the office you make it actually more difficult to not recycle. If a recycling bin is closer at hand than a regular bin then it’s more likely to be used with no extra effort. Just make sure that people aren’t using them incorrectly.
If your company is being remodelled you have the perfect opportunity to go green from top to bottom. Environmentally friendly flooring materials can be used as well as energy saving lighting.
The key thing to remember is to be conscientious and ecologically aware when it comes to recycling. The practices that have the most effect are the ones that are carried out by you, yourself. By policing your own actions and ensuring that you are behaving in an environmentally friendly manner you and your coworkers can be the ones who ensure that the carbon footprint that your business leaves behind is as small as possible. After all none of us are individuals, we’re all just part of the collective and if everyone pulls their weight then we stand to achieve the greatest results.
Richard Hughes is a content writer and blogger currently working for Office Man, a portal of for finding suppliers during an office relocation.