Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

7 Ways to Green Up Your Office

You’re a green and responsible citizen of the office. You took the time to set up and label those recycling bins in the break room for metal, glass, plastic, and paper. Your “Reduce, Reuse: The Other Two ‘R’s” workshop was a roaring success. And anyone who leaves their monitor on when they leave their desks for more than 5 minutes risks incurring your righteous wrath. Now your eco-conscious boss wants to help you build on your success. What else can you do?

Here are a few things your office can do to get on the high-speed train to Sustainabilityville, making all local (-vore) stops.

The following is adapted from Greening Your Office: From Cupboard to Corporation: an A-Z Guide by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert.

  1. Plant/Start a Garden
    If your office is on the ground floor and you are fortunate to have some outside space, take full advantage of it. Grow wonderful plants, use them to shade your windows in the summer, and give your office space a third dimension. Pick flowers and foliage to put in your office. Try growing a few vegetables while you’re at it. Few things taste better than a red, ripe and naturally-grown office tomato.
  2. Install Dual-Flush Toilets
    Simple principle: a short flush for number one and a longer flush for number two. The short flush will be used most of the time.
  3. Start a Ride-Share Program
    Promote carpooling, with priority parking spaces for those who participate. Set up a carpooling database on the company Web site/intranet, local area network (LAN), by e-mail, or on a bulletin board for potential car poolers with a guarantee of a free taxi should their ride not show up
  4. Create bicycle-friendly facilities
    Create good facilities for cyclists, secure bike storage, showers with lockers, free breakfasts, and financial incentives for cycling to work
  5. Get on the Bus: Public Transportation
    Approach your local bus company (armed with facts and figures) to see if they will reroute a bus at key times if your office is not well served by public transportation
  6. Compost
    Instead of throwing all leftover food, tea bags, and coffee grounds into the trash, why not set up a composting system to prevent these organic materials from going to the landfill? When these materials decompose in a landfill they produce methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The gardeners in your office will eagerly take the finished product home.
  7. Work from home occasionally
    How else could you go to work in your underwear without getting fired? (Don’t answer that.)


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