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Make your workplace green and save money too

Make your workplace green and save money too

Category: Ethical

Updated: 31/10/2008
First Published: 10/07/2007

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

You may have already started to make great strides in turning your home green, but it doesn't have to stop there. Every year, Britain's businesses are responsible for 77 million tonnes of waste. By turning your workplace green, not only will your company save thousands of pounds each year, you'll be making a real difference to not only the environment, but your local community too!

Saving energy around the office
  • Turn off lights when not in use. Research has shown that that many workplaces could reduce their energy usage for lighting by up to 30% by switching lights off in unoccupied areas.
  • Use products with a much longer life, like energy efficient lightbulbs. Changing all the lighting in an average-sized office over to energy-efficient options could save enough electricity to make as many as 570 cups of tea a day!
  • At the end of the day, switch off your computer. Don't leave monitors on standby - Each PC left on overnight and at weekends wastes £25 per year in electricity alone.
  • Turn off taps and check for leaks
  • Make sure your heating system is regularly serviced
  • In the winter, only heat areas that are used
  • Air conditioning is wasteful. If it's hot, open windows
  • For teas and coffees, only boil what is needed

But it doesn't have to stop there…

Recycling around the office
  • According to Friends of the Earth, 70% of office waste is paper. It's largely high-grade white paper too - the most sought after type for recycling, yet only 15% is actually recycled.
  • Paper, newspapers, cans, ink cartridges and glass should all be recycled, so set up a recycling point
  • Rather than throw away paper once it has been used, turn it over and use it as scrap paper first
  • Paper and plastic cups should be also swapped for your own mugs. The same goes for plastic cutlery
  • Always think before you print out those emails – organise a filing system on your computer instead
  • Why not use a company notice board, rather than wasting paper on non-essential notices?
  • Reuse envelopes for internal post rather than using new ones
Other ideas
  • When buying paper, choose the recycled kind
  • Choose locally-sourced products whenever possible to avoid unnecessary transport costs
  • When travelling to work, why not start up a lift share scheme with your colleagues?
  • Better still, why not walk, cycle, or use public transport
  • Share items that are heavily used, like staplers and hole punches
  • Purchase goods from companies committed to sustainable resources
  • Cut down on the use of batteries – use kinetic clocks, or solar powered calculators for example
  • Use refillable pens wherever possible
  • Encourage your company to choose greener and smaller company cars
  • When disposing of old office equipment, make sure it goes to a good home. Over a million computers and 2 million mobile phones are sent to landfill every year in the UK – with large a portion of these coming from businesses. Donate through

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.