Going to college at Chico State taught me to be mindful of my consumption, waste and environmental impact. There, I surrounded myself with conscious people who made sure to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. Once I moved out of this sphere of influence, I realized that not everyone is aware of how their personal consumption can affect the planet. You might be thinking, ‘Ah, great, another hippy, dippy know-it-all from California trying to tell us how to save the world.’ That is not the goal of this blog. My goal is to simply spread awareness and offer a few tips on how to keep up a more sustainable workplace.
Earth Day serves as a great reminder of how we can become more conscientious, not only of our global environmental impact but of our everyday personal habits. We certainly have more than a few ‘green’ thinkers at Social High Rise, but just as recently as last year we weren’t practicing what we preached. We kept plastic forks, knives and spoons for everyday use. Solo cups and paper plates and bowls inhabited our kitchen area. Sure, this was practical as we don’t have a dishwasher, but is it sustainable? Definitely not! Here are a few changes we made to put our high rise on the right track to becoming more green:
Cups, Mugs, Bowls and More
As mentioned, for a long time we took the easy route of keeping throw away dishware in our office kitchen area. Seeing these items in the bins around the office was starting to weigh on my environmental conscience. We decided to make a change and bought some low-cost bowls, plates, mugs, and small snack containers. When we’ve dirtied our bowls with instant oatmeal or ranch dressing, we put them in a tray to be cleaned at the end of each week. Phew, my mind is at ease knowing we no longer add to the plethora of Dixie bowls and Solo cups in the landfill! Simple, easy, sustainable.
Paper Towels Are Just White Trash
Instead of using paper towels for small spills or minor messes, keep a couple of cloths in the kitchen area of your office or workspace. There are tons of alternatives to paper towels, but I definitely recommend having a rotation of volunteers who will take cloths towels home to wash if you go that route.
It can be very difficult and confusing to know what you can and cannot recycle. It helps to have some handy dandy informational guides about what’s acceptable to recycle in the office, so people can check it out when they’re ready to toss their trash. Keep in mind that recycling laws vary by state and county, so be sure to double check what’s acceptable in your area!
When you hit that midday slump or woke up too late to brew a fresh cup of Joe at home, it’s normal to head out to the coffee shop down the street and grab a to-go cup. This is something I am particularly guilty of as Starbucks is literally right below us. But where do those lids, straws, sleeves, and cups go? To waste, that’s where! One way to combat office bins being filled with to-go cups is by keeping a coffee pot in the kitchen area and stocking up on some good (keyword, good) coffee. Don’t forget the tea bags for those who don’t enjoy the jitter juice! I also recommend investing in a few reusable mugs with lids. Most coffee shops will even give you a discount if you bring your own cup!
Those are a few of the ways we’ve made changes in our office to help rid unnecessary waste and do our part for nature. Do you have other ideas and solutions to workplace sustainability? Let us know!