Earth-friendly practices you can incorporate in your workplace

As April 22 approaches each year, you may find yourself thinking a little more about the ways you can give back to the place that provides a safe haven to you every day.

Being environmentally conscious not only on Earth Day, but every other day in between, will go a long way in having a cleaner, more sustainable world for future generations.

Because we spend at least one-third of our adult lives working, implementing Earth-friendly practices in the workplace is just as important as implementing them at home. Businesses are one of the largest producers of paper waste — cutting just 10% of it would be the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for an entire year.

But there are many other opportunities to reduce the workplace carbon footprint.

Implement a work-from-home policy

If your business model affords employees the ability to work remotely one or two days a week, this is an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions. Consider this: If one employee travels 30 miles per day to work for you, allowing them to stay at home just one day per week will save them 1,560 miles per year. That’s just one employee! Give five employees this privilege (by rotating their days off, of course), and you’ll save them almost 8,000 miles per year. With video conferencing technology such as Zoom and Skype, along with e-mail and electronic time tracking tools, your employees can accomplish a great deal right from their living room.

Use LED light bulbs

Did you know you can increase productivity in your workplace simply by improving the lighting? Seventy-five percent of employees report they could be more efficient with better light, and 30 percent suffer from eye strain-related headaches. LED lights last significantly longer than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Replacing these types of bulbs with LEDs can reduce consumption from anywhere between 55 to 90 percent.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

And we don’t just mean paper (though that’s a major culprit). Add recycling bins for paper near every printer in your office for sure, but you can also add bins for plastics, aluminum cans and batteries — all commonly used recyclables in the workplace. Consider using rechargeable batteries for wireless keyboards, mice and remote controls. And use as many electronic resources possible to reduce your paper trail. Utilizing electronic signature technology whenever possible will help reduce the need to print documents that need signatures. And storing files on a cloud server, as opposed to a traditional filing cabinet, will go a long way in reducing the amount of paper used.

The theme for Earth Day 2018 is ending plastic pollution by Earth Day 2020, which is the 50th anniversary of the annual observance. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times — during the last 10 years, we’ve produced more plastic than we did during the entire last century. If you’re interested in contributing to this effort, the Earth Day Network provides a number of resources for starting a plastic recycling campaign.

Turn it off!

This one seems pretty simple, but often dismissed. When computers and printers go into sleep mode, it’s easy to forget they’re actually eating up electricity. Turn those computers and printers off before you leave for the day. And adjust the temperature on the thermostat depending on the weather — having it a little colder or warmer than usual overnight will save on your electric use.

Reward your employees for participating in environmentally friendly campaigns with Earth Day apparel!