Skip to content

5 steps to make your work place more eco-friendly

2010 July 27

Do you spend more time at home or at your office?  It occurred to me that many of my friends spend far more time at their office or place of work, then they do at home.  A peculiar thing happens when I get to work- I become more wasteful, and less resourceful.  Office time means time to binge on carbon.  It’s as if what I do at work doesn’t count as real living.

It’s difficult to measure your carbon outputs when so much of your time is spent in a place where it’s not measured.  Because I don’t live at my office, I don’t see how much electricity, water, trash and food scraps I waste. At home I compost, we have a recycling bin, I can control the temperature and ask my roommates to turn their lights off and open the blinds. Why can’t I do that at work?

Working in an office of realtors, we seem to have a larger eco-footprint than the wasteful habits of an average office. We need our cars to drive clients around. We all work on laptops-sometimes two computers at once. And we all eat out.

In an effort to do more green things around the office, we took a moment to think about what we could change as a company.  The solution was… an online, virtual office.  We also came up with a few other ideas that you  might be able to use in your office.

5 steps to an eco-friendly work place:

  1. Commuting: How do you get to work?  Perhaps you could start a carpool.  It’s difficult for Realtors to consider not driving because we need our cars to drive clients around.  I suggested leaving our cars at the office and biking or taking the bus home.  The idea was taken surprisingly well.
  2. Waste: Recycling should be a given, but what about composting?  I know someone who doesn’t compost simply because he doesn’t garden.  I don’t think that’s a good reason at all.  Compost is fuel that someone could use.  Just so happens I discovered a garden behind our office…  sometimes you just gotta look a little harder.  Also, don’t use paper towels, take a dish towel to work, and a reusable napkin.
  3. Work from home: If you can, work from home once a week or more.  Our new online office forwards calls to our cell phone, and let’s us fax, search, invoice… everything we can do in the physical office.  Why waste the gas to get to a place within reach from your bed?
  4. Electricity: Turn off your computer completely, turn off those lights in hallways that no one is using, take the stairs, unplug your open sign at night.  In short, any energy not being used should be shut off.
  5. Have fun with it: Being green should be a fun way of life.  If that’s what you make it, then it quickly becomes habit and not a chore.  If you’re positive about changes, people will be more receptive.  Don’t demand that people start composting, encourage them to.

Where does most of the waste in your office come from?

What are some steps you’ve taken to make your office more eco friendly?

How have you motivated your office to become more green?


Want more RoA? Be our friend on Facebook. Add our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Start your morning with Republic of Austin in your InBox. Or read us 24-7 on Twitter!

Related posts:

  1. Turn Your Trash Into A Fruit Bowl. For apartment dwellers, recycling doesn't come easy. Ari shows you...
  2. High heels in the garden-How Austin’s new ‘Cult of Domesticity’ keeps us green. Ari takes a look at new gender roles and how...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010

    Great post, Ari! Our office had a super fun weekly bike-to-lunch group going for a while, but we haven’t done it in a few weeks. It really encouraged people to think more about taking their bike not just to lunch, but to work and elsewhere. This inspires me to get our little biker gang back in the saddle/banana seat…

    • Ari Guerrero permalink
      July 27, 2010

      Fantastic idea Becky! I’m gonna use that. I heard a couple of offices in town have bikes for their employees to bike to lunch.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

To leave a comment, enter your info in the form or sign in securely with your Twitter account.