Easy Green Office Ideas

Discussing a relaxing mass transit trip ay work may encourage your colleagues to green their commute, too. (Photo: Phil Sexton [CC BY-2.0]/Flickr)

There are a wide variety of pre-packaged green office campaigns available. These campaigns come with posters, fun green office games, ideas for green-themed office parties, and much more. However, sometimes subtlety is the key in getting apprehensive coworkers to join you in creating a more eco-friendly office space.

If your coworkers see you using one of these easy green office ideas, they may be intrigued and start to ask questions. You can then use this as a jumping point for an eco-conscious conversation. Once your coworkers see how easy, and inexpensive, these green changes can be, you may just find yourself leading a green office revolution at your place of employment.

Green Lunch Ideas

Bring your lunch to work in an eco-friendly reusable container. Find a toxin-free product to use but make sure that you don’t use disposable plastic bags to tote your sandwich and snacks in. Instead, buy one of the fun reusable bags that are available from many online retailers.

A personal favorite is the ReSnackIt product line. This mom-owned business provides reusable snack and sandwich bags in a wide variety of prints. The outside of the bag is 100% cotton and the inside is lined with lead-free, phthalate-free, BPA-free, and PVC-free vinyl. Unlike some of the reusable bag retailers, ReSnackIt has several patterns that are appropriate for adults.

While your office mate may skip the brown bag in favor of a reusable lunch pail, they may not realize that reusable snack and sandwich bags are available. What better way to advertise the product than to use them yourself?

Reducing Paper Use

Many companies request that employees place a line in their email signature encouraging the recipient to think twice about printing the email. If you don’t already use such a line, it is a great way to help spread the message to office mates.

If you need to print something that is not being mailed to a client, consider using the backside of a paper that has already been through the printer once. Set up a tray dedicated to draft prints and keep it stocked with paper that already has printing on one side. This could significantly reduce your office’s paper usage and your co-workers only have to choose the correct tray when printing or copying.

Ride Share

In the past year, gas has dropped by a couple of dollars per gallon and so people aren’t as motivated to cut down on their mileage. However, your coworkers may still be open to ride sharing. If you live near a coworker, ask her if she’d like to carpool with you. This not only saves money on the monthly gasoline bill, but also cuts down on a vehicle’s wear and tear, which helps the vehicle last longer before needing expensive repairs.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a great mass transit system, start taking the train, light rail, subway, etc. Although a 45 minute commute may take an hour or longer using mass transit, that is an hour that you can use for productive work, rest, or entertainment.

If you decide to start using the public transportation system in your area, discuss how your trip to work was more relaxing than usual. Or, open up your laptop and get a jump-start on your emails or morning projects. By the time you get to work, you may have extra time to focus on a new project. Simply discussing what you did during the commute may encourage a coworker to join you.

Energy Use

Companies across the nation are trying to find ways to reduce their energy bills. As an employee, you can take a few simple steps to reduce your personal contribution to the company’s energy bill and perhaps start a new trend.

If you have an office with windows, take advantage of that natural light by opening up the blinds and turning off the lights. If you have a lamp in your office, replace the bulb with an LED or CFL bulb. At the end of the day, turn off your computer and encourage coworkers to do the same.

These green office ideas are easy to implement and you can get started today. Additionally, they are all free or very inexpensive. Creating a greener office space isn’t hard and it starts with one person, you.