Green Office Guide III: Improve Environmental Impact In Business Operations

As an initiative to address sustainable developments in the workplace, we have begun making efforts to provide guidelines and tools for greening the office work environment. We’ve started by developing a 5-part Green Office Guide series. In the first section, we discussed ways on how to reduce your carbon footprint at work. Part II of our guide spoke about greening the office product line and its importance. Today, we will be presenting Part III of our Green Office Guide! The bullets below include some green environmental practices that you may want to consider, in order to improve the environmental impact of your business operations. By following this Guide, your company should not only be able to enhance its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen, but better meet the needs of customers, improve efficiency and productivity, and make the organization more attractive to talented new recruits. Let’s begin!

green plates

A. Resource Conservation and Pollution Prevention
  • Drinking Water. Use filtered tap water instead of bottled water. It takes approximately 17 million barrels of oil to make all the plastic bottles used for the bottled water consumed by Americans each year.
  • Reusable Utensils. Use durable plates, cups, glasses, and utensils in the kitchen and conference rooms
  • Printer Cartridges. Recycle printer cartridges and buy recycled cartridges.
  • Recyclables. Recycle the following to the extent practicable:
    • Glass bottles
    • Aluminum cans
    • Batteries
    • Plastic bags
    • Tyvek envelopes
    • Cardboard
  • Reuse Center. Establish a re-use center for binders, file folders, and other items.
  • External Reuse. Sell or donate old office equipment, furniture, and supplies that can’t be reused internally.
  • Doormats. Use good doormats or entryway track-off systems to prevent people from tracking dirt into the building. Less dirt means fewer resources used for cleaning.
  • Grounds Management. Conserve the use of water for grounds watering, where applicable and to the extent that can be decided or influenced by the organization. Use natural landscaping and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, to the extent lawn maintenance is within the control of the organization.
  • LEED Building Features. Adopt “green building” features and practices, such as those encouraged under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the US Green Building Council, to the extent that can be decided or influenced by the organization. Every day, over $464 million worth of construction projects are registered with LEED.
B. Reducing Supply Chain Impacts
  • Orders and Deliveries. Use supplier e-systems to order and pay for products and services. Consolidate multiple sources and deliveries of products and services to reduce environmental impacts.
  • Product Recycling, Take-back Programs. Arrange with product manufacturers, the Link 360 Program, E-Cycle Environmental, or other reputable firms to take back customer products after use.
  • Caterers. Use caterers that minimize disposables.
  • Inks. Specify the use of soy inks and paper with recycled content for all print jobs
  • Landlord. If the office is leased, work with the landlord and office building manager to help minimize the adverse environmental impacts and risks of the operations and maximize the beneficial ones.
  • Facility Improvements. Incorporate environmental criteria in the design and construction of office and other facility improvements.
  • Green Hotels. Select hotels with “green” practices for conference sites or regular use. See the CERES Green Hotel Initiative for best practice checklists and other tools.

If you missed our previous green guide articles, here they are: Part I – Reduce your Carbon Footprint in the Office and Part II – Greening the Office Product Line. We’ll be back next week with our fourth installment, Part IV of our Green Office Guide! Be on the lookout!