Ask Alyssa: Implementing eco-friendly practices to the work room

April 22, 2015

By Alyssa Kirchen

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”25″ size_format=”px”]Q: There’s no emphasis on recycling where I work. How can I bring up being more eco-friendly to my workplace when I’m not in a leadership position? [/typography]


A: Making a change in the work place can seem impossible. Sometimes the company is so set in its ways it’s hard to suggest how to make things better. Sometimes bottom-up change is the most effective. If you start bringing other coworkers together to make little changes, it will influence management to start being more eco-friendly.

Being eco-friendly can be a huge benefit in the workplace. There are many changes that can help the environment as well as save the company some money. A big item that companies tend to waste is paper. There are many ways to reuse, recycle and even cut back on usage.

For starters, when printing or making copies of a document it is best to print double sided. This will cut the amount of paper being used in half. Set the company printer settings to double sided so it prints that way every time. Accomplishing this task will help more than you think, and it won’t be very difficult to do.

Another easy way is to simply reuse paper. If you misprinted or don’t need a document any longer, use that paper as scrap paper to write down side notes or a rough draft of new ideas. Once you have no use for the paper, get a recycling bin, and toss it in there. If you ask management to use a separate receptacle for paper, you can easily use an extra garbage can and make it a paper/recycling bin only.

If you really want your company to go entirely paperless, there are many ways to make this change. Almost everyone owns a computer, tablet or smart phone, and in efforts to cut back on paper, technology is the way to go. Encourage management to send out emails for updates instead of posting it on multiple pieces of paper in the office. This is eliminating paper usage, and employees can access the update at any time.

If you’re making a presentation, present it in a power point and have everyone view it in a conference room. If a proposal needs to be sent to everyone to follow along, email it to your coworkers and have them view it on their computer, tablet or smart phone.

Getting paid in paper checks? Suggest switching to direct deposit. Your check will never have to go through the mail again, wasting postage and paper. This will save both you and the company a lot of time and money.

Becoming eco-friendly can be a process, but it has to start somewhere. Even if you are not a part of management, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a change. Baby steps can take you far and help lead to bigger change. Even if it takes some time, it will be worth it in the long run.

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