5 Ways to be Greener at the Office

Making eco-friendly choices has never been more popular. In greater numbers than ever, individuals and groups are making moves in efforts to be kinder to our planet. While many speak of personal changes made at home — such as using bamboo toothbrushes, or refusing plastic grocery bags — the idea of being greener at work is rarely as explored. However, being environmentally conscious at work is just as important as anywhere else, especially considering the fact that many spend more time at work than at home. Gettysburg College estimates the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Choices made at work, therefore, add up.

The great news is that many eco-friendly office changes are easy to do, and require only an extra moment of consideration, or a one-time investment. Some may even turn out better for your long-term health.

In line with Nightingale’s “landfill sucks”, zero-waste policy, here’s a list of 5 changes you can make to be kinder to the planet while at the office:

1. Bring a Water Bottle

Sporting a reusable water bottle means that you won’t need to use plastic or paper cups at the office water cooler — or even worse, purchase countless plastic bottles in just to stay hydrated. A reusable bottle helps fulfill all your drinking needs without leaving an endless trail of single- use waste behind. According to Penn State University, just one water bottle saves roughly 217 plastic bottles a year from going to the landfill. That’s a lot of impact for one change!


2. Use Tupperware for Lunch

Packing your lunch into glass or metal tupperware helps curve your environmental impact quite a bit. To begin with, bringing a packed meal to work reduces the initial need to grab fast-food for lunch— an action which inevitably leads to piles of packaging waste. Bringing lunch in tupperware also counters other litterful food packaging, such as Ziplock bags or plastic wrap. Even better, tupperware is often better for keeping food heated, and lasts a lot longer too. Truly an all-around win!


3. Go Digital

Instead of scrawling out ideas with pen and paper, try to take notes on your phone or tablet more often. Plenty of such devices already come with features designed for this purpose, so you’ll be in good hands if you do. Furthermore, aim to share files/documents online as much as possible. Printed hardcopies add up over time, more often than not, are eventually disposed of. With so many options today for collaborating over the computer, such as email, Dropbox, Slack, or Google Drive, this move has never been easier. Save trees, and maximize what technology can do.


4. Unplug Charged Electronics

Computers and other devices that are fully charged no longer need to be plugged-in. Sounds simple enough, but not everyone knows that plugged-in devices continue to consume energy — even when not in use. Fully charged and plugged-in devices account for tons of lost energy. According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in America, wasted energy accounts for 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity a year. If you’re looking for an easy, hassle free way to help the planet while at the office, this is certainly it.


5. Recycle and Compost

Avoid throwing things away without thought. Many of the items we dispose of are not just trash; they can be recycled or composted without a problem. Help drastically curb our (literally) mounting waste problem by recycling and composting at work — even if it means the extra effort of getting up from your desk chair, or walking across the office to the appropriate bin.
Hopefully these 5 tips achieve greener habits at work, and generate a lifestyle that is better for our planet better in all facets!

Read this article and more in our August 2019 newsletter