Is it time to make your office green?
Most offices in New Zealand, especially the bigger corporates, are starting to lead the way in terms of green office practices, but that's not to say you can't do your own thing as an individual or as a small business to contribute to the green office journey.
We've put together some of our favourite tips to help you start to 'greenify' the office!
Actually use the recycling. It's too easy just to lob stuff into any old bin when you're busy or running late to a meeting. Don't be that guy - use the recycling bins. If you're sick of getting up and down all day, get a small cardboard box or other container that's been used and keep it under your desk. Chuck your recycling in there and then empty it at the end of the day. If your office doesn't have recycling bins, then look into local suppliers (Method Recycling are a great option in NZ).
Carpool. If you're not a fan of the bus or the train, and you don't want to (or can't) give up taking the car in to work, then split the ride with someone else from the office. There's bound to be someone you can pick up on the way, or who can pick you up on their way past, and sharing the ride should mean splitting some running costs too (like parking, or petrol). It's a good chance to get to know each other, and if you don't want to get to know anyone else, at least you'll have another human to keep you company (or calm) when the road rage hits. Seriously though, carpooling is good for your pocket and good for the environment, so even if you do it once every few weeks, you'll be making a small difference.
Check your paper habits. If you have to print things often, or you chew through loads of paper stationery, start switching out some of your supply with recycled paper. If you're in NZ then you can use a service like Misprint. They collect all of your scrap paper (or paper that has been used and is no longer needed), and recycle it into notebooks that you can buy back or that they can sell to other companies who are looking to shift to recycled products too. If you print a bunch of a paper once and you're done with it, try to reuse it. Scribble notes on it, cut it up into little notepads - try to make it go around more than once. And obviously, the best tip of all for this one is try not to print at all unless you actually need to.
Ditch the plastic takeaways. Make sure your office has a 'my mug' policy - everyone (or as many people as possible) should be encouraged to have their own mug they can take down to the coffee joint to get their morning fix. Most places in Wellington will give you a discount for bringing your own mug too, so it's win-win. The only thing people will complain about is having to wash their own mug, but after a wee while it turns into habit (that, and the pressure of everyone else in the office death-glaring you for your stanky mug). Takeaway cups are one of the biggest contributors to waste in NZ, and most of them either aren't recyclable or, they are, but the type of recyclable that can take hundreds of years to break down. Same applies with takeaway lunch boxes - if you're going out to get a quick lunch to shovel down at your desk, try to choose a place that has bamboo packaging or compostable/natural packaging for their takeaway containers, instead of polystyrene, foam or plastic.
Add some plants. Chuck some plants into your working area. They look good, they liven the place up, and a lot of plants do really great things for the air quality. If you believe in the more fluffy side of life, there are even some theories that plants can do good things for energy and stress relief. There are plenty of plant options that don't need loads of sun or watering, which makes them good options for the forgetful plant owners among us!
Have you got any tips you want to add to this list? Send us a private message on our Facebook page and we'll add them! Look for Green Cabs NZ on Facebook.