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Five Simple Ways to Make a Greener Workspace

Not so long ago, ‘going green’ was entirely the province of the hairy-toed, sandal-wearing, mung-bean-eating walking cliché. Manly men and sensible women looked upon the environmental movement with something approaching scorn, while the world quietly died around us. Thankfully, for all our sakes, the green movement is no longer a hipster trend, but a genuine cultural shift and people everywhere are doing their bit to help prevent further damage being inflicted upon the environment.

While national and international corporations – from Marks & Spencer to Hewlett-Packard and Disney – are beginning to style themselves as environmental champions, it can still seem a challenge for the SMB to create a greener workspace. While, yes, we’d all love solar panels and wind-powered electricity, these things are expensive to implement and not always cost-effective. But, there are easier ways to garner your business some green credentials, without incurring an enormous expense.

Five Ways to Make Your Business Green

  1. Recycle. It’s such an obvious thing that it’s hardly worth mentioning, but many people overlook it for that very reason. The KS Environmental Group believe that 80% of workplace waste is recyclable, and yet very little of the 177 million tonnes of waste generated in the UK actually makes it to a recycling centre. While this is seriously bad news for the environment, it’s also not great news for your company’s coffers, as it’s also estimated that UK businesses could save up to £6.4 billion per year by improving the way they use resources. Implementing a clearly labelled recycling system and taking measures to reduce the waste your company produces could save you cash, while giving you a healthy green environmentally-friendly glow.
  2. Go Paperless. It’s amazing, in this digitised age, just how much pointless paper you can find in every office. Of course, there are somethings that you will need a hard copy of, but in reducing the paper – and ink – you use you’ll significantly cut your overheads while cutting your environmental impact.
  3. Optimise. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your power consumption, the first and most obvious step is to switch off all electrical equipment at the end of the working day. However, by optimising the power settings on your computers – reducing screen brightness, enabling automatic power-downs when idle – you can go one step further. Additionally, it’s possible to optimise your workspace by making the most of natural light and brightening up your décor. White, or lightly coloured walls and furnishings reflect natural light, helping to reduce the need for artificial. Natural light also boosts the production of melatonin in the brain, which should lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. Also try reducing the heating and air con by one degree – it really makes a difference.
  4. Reuse. The primary cause of plastic waste in the workplace is staff food and drink. Sandwich packets, soft drink bottles, microwave meals; they all add up. While you can’t stand over your team and monitor their every mouthful, you can help to promote a culture of re-use by supplying water bottle refill stations, such as those produced by Halsey Taylor, for either indoor or outdoor use. Alternatively, if you already own a water cooler (if you rent through MIW you can easily exchange your current cooler for a fountain with sports bottle refill facility) and don’t yet wish to replace it, consider purchasing a set of re-usable cups for your team to replace the endless supply of single-use plastic.
  5. Green Clean. Finally, cut your chemical output by switching to eco-cleaning products. There was a time when green cleaning products delivered a substandard job at an exorbitant price point, but these days they are just as cost effective as standard brands, clean brilliantly and as an added bonus are free from the common irritants that can cause health problems for staff members.

Of course, this list is just the tip of a very green iceberg; there are numerous other ways to cut the polluting footprint of your company; you just need to find the ways that work for you.