Regardless of whether you enjoy an expansive corner office or a crowded cubicle, there are plenty of ways to can green your office space for a more sustainable work experience. Even if your employer doesn't participate in sustainability efforts, these simple steps can lower your own environmental impact while you're at the office.
1. Get a reusable coffee mug: In America, people drink an estimated three cups of coffee per day. Multiply that by a week's worth of Styrofoam cups and you've got a significant contribution to the nation's landfills. Instead of using throw-away cups, opt for a reusable coffee mug - you could save 15 cups a week!
2. Recycle: Even if recycling bins aren't available in your office building, you can still take it upon yourself to recycle. Keep containers near your desk for any paper, plastic or aluminum cans you may accumulate over the week. Once you've filled the bins, take them to your local recycling center.
3. Go paperless where possible: Don't print emails or documents unless it's absolutely necessary. Instead, save them to your computer if you need to reference them later. If your office keeps it in stock, use recycled paper when you need a hard copy of a document. It's made of post-consumer waste and eliminates the need to produce paper from wood.
4. Add some plants: Not only will plants add some literal greenery, they are also a great way to contribute to your own green lifestyle. Indoor plants help improve the overall air quality and can even eliminate odors or add a fresh smell to your workspace.
5. Bring your lunch: Although brown bagging it may not be glamorous, it's a great way to reduce your own waste. Restaurants produce enormous amounts of packaging and waste on a daily basis, but you don't have to take part in it. Instead, bring your own lunch in reusable containers. You could even bring local, organic foods to minimize your environmental impact even further.
6. Shut down: Before you leave for the day, make sure you shut down any electronic devices. Even on sleep mode, these gadgets use a significant amount of energy. Turn off computers, printers and fax machines to cut down on your carbon footprint. If you're just stepping away from your desk, put your computer in energy-saver mode.
7. Carpool: If other people in your office building are looking to be more sustainable, consider starting a carpooling program. Sharing a vehicle cuts down on transportation emissions and can even solve any parking issues your building may experience. If you can't hitch a ride with a co-worker, consider taking public transportation. Sure the bus may not be as fast as driving your car, but your carbon footprint will be significantly reduced. If you work for an office that encourages telecommuting, work from home to completely eliminate the emissions from your commute.