How to Go Green at Work: 10 Basic Ideas to Start Living an Eco-Friendly Work Life
Living a green lifestyle. If we look at it from a short-term perspective, it appears challenging, tough work, even impractical in some instances. However, if you look at it from a long-term perspective, a green lifestyle has longstanding benefits. It is more cost-efficient, it is healthier, and it is more satisfying. There may be small inconveniences, but the benefits far outweigh all these.
The most challenging part to living an eco-friendly lifestyle is the beginning, the transition from the lifestyle we used to know to a new, more sustainable living. One secret to making it easier is to not look at the seemingly impossible whole. Because in truth, it’s not a one-time instant overhaul—it’s the accumulation of small and simple habits that build up over time until one day you realize, you have ‘greenify’ most, if not all, areas of your life. But how to begin? Let’s start at work.
Check out the Top 10 Tips to Living a Green Work Life
From your day-to-day practice to the things you use around you at work, you can inject a green habit into various areas of your work life.
Minimize, or eliminate, printing
This is perhaps one of the most common practices many workplaces today advocate to their employees. Instead of printing documents to file them in your cabinet, why not create an e-copy and save it on your drive. You will not only save paper, ink, and energy, but you will also save space in your workspace.
That is, instead of putting your computer on sleep or standby mode when you log off at the end of a workday, properly shut it down and unplug from the outlet. This, too, provides dual benefits—you save on energy and you give your device proper rest, prolonging its lifespan.
Bring your own lunch at work
Instead of getting your lunch from the cafeteria, why not prepare your own meals? This is especially helpful if you are trying to eat healthy—you can carefully select the ingredients of your meals and can eat mindfully according to your need. This is also more cost-efficient compared to the usual hefty cost of restaurant meals. And you don’t need to consume lots of time, too. You can prepare this together with your breakfast or during the previous night.
Take advantage of free coffee
You can also skip your usual morning coffee from your favorite boutique café and just prepare your own to-go coffee when you leave home in the morning. Many offices today also have their own coffee maker or coffee station—why not take advantage of that and save yourself some bucks while also saving the earth?
Don’t let coffee grounds go to waste
And now that we’re talking about coffee, did you know that used coffee grounds can be used to fertilize plants and deodorize spaces? And, chances are the used coffee grounds you have at the office are just thrown in the trash at the end of the day. Ask you kitchen staff at work for some extra and use them in your office space or at home, for your plants or simply to enjoy the warm kick of coffee aroma throughout the day.
Bring your own coffee mug, water bottles, utensils, and straw
When you look into an office trash, next to paper, among the most common items you’d find there are disposable eating utensils or coffee cups. You can help reduce these by bringing your own and keeping them in your locker. And, you can encourage your colleagues to do the same by gifting them with coffee mugs or utensil sets next Christmas, a subtle way to influence behavior.
Work from home
Most of us have experienced this during the past year or two, and we have also experienced the benefits. If this will be a continuous option for you, take advantage of the arrangement and save on time, energy, and carbon footprint.
Carpool or commute
If, however, you need to go back and report to work, another great idea would be to carpool with friends or use public transportation on your way to work. Granted, this may not be very safe to do at the moment because of the risks brought by the pandemic, but it is always a good option as long as proper safety measures are observed.
If your office is just a storey or two from where you are, why not skip the elevator and use the stairs instead? It’s not only energy saving but also an instant exercise, maybe just what you need to add to your 10,000 steps for the day. And if you combine this with alternating between sitting and standing while working, then you're on your way to living a healthier lifestyle at work.
Open the windows
This is an unconventional option, and maybe one that is not available in some airconditioned offices. But, if this is at all possible, it would be a great way to let fresh air and natural light in and reduce the use of airconditioning/heater and artificial lighting.
Easy practices, yeah? And you don’t have to practice all of them all at once, too. Maybe start with one of the items mentioned here and see how it feels for you, and then move on to the next, all the while adjusting according to what you find works and what doesn’t. The key is to take it easy, make it fun, and make it natural—until the time it becomes something you do without even giving it second thought.
Enjoy the journey! 😊
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