There are many things you can do while at work to help the environment and create a more sustainable workplace. Although this guide focuses on sustainability actions in an office environment, some of the tips will also apply whatever your workplace.
Taking on board these practical everyday changes can add up to make a real difference—especially if they catch on with your co-workers. Our tips include simple steps you can take right now, and some that require a little more planning. None of the actions will require significant up-front costs and most will save money.
No matter what your role in your organisation, you can still contribute to creating a more sustainable workplace. Here are six things you can do now without consulting anyone (and if your co-workers join in, you’ll be making an even bigger impact).
The takeaway ‘paper’ cup is often not recyclable as most paper cups have a thin plastic lining that prevents them from being recycled—sending more waste to landfill. Then there is the energy used to manufacture, package and transport an item that will be thrown away after just one use. If you drink one coffee a day, that could add up to more than 200 cups a year—which can add up to a lot of trees that would be more useful in the ground filtering greenhouse gases—especially when you consider all the people in your building buying coffee too.
Choosing to bring in a re-usable coffee cup can make a real contribution to reducing a growing problem.
There are many advantages to using a re-usable water bottle:
None of this is to say that you should never buy bottled water, but it helps to be aware of the associated impacts and give some thought to the alternatives as well. You can use home filtering systems, refillable water bottles and drink tap water.
When you’re buying a drink bottle, consider stainless steel or look for plastic that’s Bisphenol A (BPA)-free. BPA is an organic compound used to make polycarbonate and epoxy resins. BPA is being phased out by some Australian retailers following concerns raised that BPA may pose some health risks for infants and young children.
If you do buy bottled water, remember to recycle the bottles after use or you could re-use them as bird feeders, a drip watering system for your garden or to grow your own seedlings.
Australians are spending billions of dollars each year on food that they buy but don't eat. Think about bringing your lunch to work—it could save money, waste and greenhouse gases.
Lots of equipment is drawing power even while you’re not using it.
You can put signs near light switches to act as a reminder and encourage others to do the same—which can be helpful for busy people.
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