10 Tips for Creating a Sustainable Office

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Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Former Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

In preparation for Earth Day, a day aimed to demonstrate support for environmental protection, consider implementing a few (or all!) of these sustainable tips in your office.

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, there’s no better time to start thinking about how you can help make your office a more eco-friendly place to work. We’ve complied a list of suggestions and tips for creating greener office and how you can start to execute them today!

Go Paperless

Try to limit unnecessary printing. In the modern office, printing is no longer a necessity. Some ideas to limit paper use include sending all memos/announcements by email and using a cloud storage for file sharing. You can also try to use only 100 percent recycled paper products and ask your printer for FSC Certified paper.

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Ditch the Plastic

Swap out your single-use plastic cups or water bottles and instead bring in a reusable water bottle. You could also consider ordering branded company water bottles so that the entire office can join in! Our friends at Bevi share more about how you can start a bring your own reusable bottle program in your office here.

Busch Systems

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This tip may seem obvious but if recycling facilities and options are not made easy an apparent for employees, they are less likely to use them. Make sure your office has clearly labeled and easy-to-find recycling bins. Recycling is about more than just putting your old newspapers in the blue bin. Encouraging your fellow colleagues to reuse things like folders and notebooks or taking notes on the back side of the page will not only help the environment, but also can help your office save money.

Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash

Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Many standard office cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can harm the environment (and even our bodies!). Consider asking your cleaning company to use green products or switch to one that does. Here’s a helpful list of the leading eco-friendly commercial cleaning products to get you started.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Limit Heating and Cooling

While it may seem impossible to find the perfect office temperature setting to satisfy all employees, making a few small changes such as turning the thermostat off overnight and instituting a casual dress code in summer months can really help keep costs down. Ensuring that your HVAC system is in top condition and is checked regularly will also help you use as little energy as possible.

Image courtesy of Healthy You Vending

Try Switching to Eco-Friendly Office Snacks

Support sustainably produced snack, coffee and tea companies by providing them for your office. Be on the lookout for companies that are local to your area to further reduce your carbon footprint. There are many subscription services such as Snack Nation or The Fruit Guys to help simplify things for you. You’ll not only help the environment, but could also improve the health of your employees!

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Create a Green Committee

Set up a team of employees to help guide your office into making more sustainable and green decisions. This will help educate the entire office and also facilitate interaction and collaboration between employees who may not have gotten to work together previously.

Photo by Hugo GF on Unsplash

Un-Plug It

Remembering to turn off all computers, printers/copiers, and other electronics that do not need to be left on at the end of the day can help reduce energy usage. Computers can be set to energy efficient settings with monitors set to shut off periods of no use.

Photographed by John Sternisha

Lighting Adjustments

Adjusting when and how you use lighting in your office can make a big impact on energy usage. Make sure to switch off lights when leaving a room (or install motion sensors) and consider using natural light as often as possible as an alternative. Consider removing all incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and LED lights are the best eco-friendly lighting options for your office.

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

A Green Commute

Did you know that American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting in rush hour traffic? This really adds up! Over 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas are wasted due to high-volume traffic each year. To reduce this, try encouraging carpooling between employees, or offer tax-free transportation benefits for public transit. Some employers are starting to give bonuses to bike and carpool commuters and special perks to hybrid drivers. Consider offering teleworking, especially for employees who normally drive to work. This will cut down on pollution and increases employee time.

Implementing even just a few of these small changes in your office can make a big impact on easing your company’s impact on the earth. We encourage you to show off your sustainable efforts on your company website or even include it as a part of your mission statement. Make sure to comment below what additional practices your office does with your green success. Creating a greener office will benefit everyone. You’ve got this! 


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  1. Yes, office must be cleaned on regular basis and every accessories and objects must be place in manner where enough space can be ensured but, it is also the duty and responsibilities of employee to understand the ethics of cleanliness, make sure they dump the garbage in can and doesn’t perform any activities which cause dirty and waste atmosphere.

  2. Great read Emma. To combine your office hours with your wish to be green, you’ve to accept some unexpected choices. And the points mentioned above are excellent to put a step forward for an Eco-friendly world. I love them all especially the point about having Eco-friendly office snacks.

  3. Excellent suggestions! Using non-toxic cleaning products is a great help, makes the air more “breathable.” Even in our home we’ve done away with air fresheners and sprays that leave residue on our furniture.
    Thanks for the ideas!


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