How to Celebrate Earth Day When You Work in an Office
It can be hard to celebrate Earth Day when you work in an office all day. If you’re stuck staring out a window at work, wondering how to celebrate Earth Day, try putting some office initiatives in place for a more environmental workplace.
Below is what the Oneupweb office does to stay environmentally conscious. There are three levels of commitment, so we bet you can accomplish at least one of these:
1. Start Small
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – The three OG principles to being green! For pickup each week, our trash can is hardly full, but our recycling bins are stuffed.
- Returnable cans and plastic – Of course, this is Michigan, where we get $.10 back for our cans, so you know we have a big bin of returnable cans in the kitchen. We return the cans once every two weeks and have roughly four or five reusable garbage bags full at that time.
- No plastic water bottles – Last July, every employee at Oneupweb got reusable water bottles. No more purchasing plastic water bottles for our office. Plastic water bottles are altogether bad for you and the environment, so start going stainless steel, today.
- Office foliage – Our office is so absolutely filled with plants it’s a daunting task for our executive assistant Kristen to water and care for them all. But plants in the office are known to have benefits like increasing productivity, reducing stress and cleaning the air.
- Mindful spending – We only patronize take-out vendors who use recyclable or compostable materials for to-go order service items. Thankfully, at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, we have lots of mindful restaurants to choose from.
2. Go the Extra Mile
- Compost – We compost our coffee grounds and food scraps from our lunches in a little bin in the kitchen. It stays tucked under the sink, so no one notices it and it gets emptied frequently, to be picked up by Bay Area Recycling for Charities. If you’re intimidated on starting a compost initiative at your office, this guide will help get you started.
- Smart commutes – Some of our employees live close enough to walk to work. Others bike or even ski in the winter, while some carpool and/or use public transportation / “park & ride” options. Also, we have employees who work remotely part of the time or all the time. Each of these cuts down on the daily commute. If promoting alternative earth-friendly commutes all year is tough to do, try for one week a year.
- Lighting – On any given day, you wouldn’t be able to tell if the lights are on at our office. We have big windows with lots of natural light, and sky tubes in our roof that cascade us with natural light all day long. Of course, this benefits us by lowering our electric bill, but also improves our office environment. We keep our electric lights dimmed and “booooo …” anyone who dares turn them up. (It’s usually the video team because they need the light to shoot pretty videos.)
- Limit energy consumption – It’s easy enough to shut your computer down at the end of the work day, but we remember to unplug our chargers when they’re not in use. Chargers left in all the time still draw a charge if they’re not connected to anything.
3.Do More for the Environment
- Refurbished building – Oneupweb’s office is in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a restored historical site. Building a new (even energy-efficient) building is less environmentally-friendly than renovating and retrofitting an existing building.
- Renewable energy – Our office participates in Traverse City Light and Power’s Voluntary Green Pricing Program. Through this program, we choose to have 100% of our electricity come from renewable energy. You could, too.
At the end of it all, Earth Day is a great day to celebrate the nature around us. If these are out of reach for your workplace, make it a point to plant a tree this weekend (this Friday, is Arbor Day!). And simply ask yourself what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint in your daily life.