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Greening your office

The pandemic has made most of us remote workers and that has helped the environment. Before 2020, we would set aside one day of the week as “meeting day”, where we would schedule all of our meetings on that one day. This not only saves from driving every day, but it makes for more productivity. If all your meetings are one day of the week, the rest of the week can be for getting work done. This idea can work with video meetings too.

For years we would challenge ourselves to try something different. One year we bought nothing new for the year. It was exciting that several people hearing about this idea decided to do a year of not buying new too. You can make this fun by buying resale and exchanging with friends. For those items you only need temporarily, try borrowing from friends or rental stores. Some libraries have items you can take out with your library card. Items include toys and games for the kids and tools. Some library systems have electronics like cameras and laptops you can take out. The Akron Ohio Library system has an art borrowing program where you can check out art for a month. https://www. akronlibrary.org/locations/main-library/culture-av- division/akron-art-library

Back in the late 2000s an article was written in GD USA highlighting our policies at the time.

For office practices, there are the obvious things to do, like print both sides of the paper and use 100% post- consumer waste paper, but you can also make a folder on your desktop and save the “to be printed” (TBP) files in that folder. Chose two days a week where everyone in your office prints. This way, the printer is only powered on for a designated time. Delaying your printing, you may find you do not need to print some of the items after all. Your printer might last longer, too, from less daily use.

For your employees, reward them for bringing their lunches. Give incentives to take public transportation, like a free bus pass reward for using public transport for 30 days. Give the best parking spots to electric vehicles.

When you do go out to lunch, bring your own take-out container for the leftovers. We have taken our containers to restaurants for years. Give company-branded reusable water bottles and coffee mugs to new employees as a hiring gift. Encourage use by installing water fountains with an easy water bottle fill feature.

Repair things instead of throwing them away and buying new. When you do purchase new items, think about what the need is for today AND into the future so that you can keep that item longer.

Sustainably rethinking your office practices and getting employees involved can provide camaraderie and company loyalty.