As we have seen in the previous posts on this series (part 1, part 2, and part 3), the office is on track to undergo major changes over the next few years. Thanks to many technological advances, most of these changes are for the better, and we’re even seeing progress toward greener, more environmental friendly practices. However, there are some vulnerabilities that, if overlooked, could cause us to erase much of our own progress by polluting in a different direction. To make sure we cover all the bases, let’s talk about the various ways offices can reduce their carbon footprint by 2020.
Reduce Paper Usage
With the move toward digital documents and digital storage, we’re already consuming less paper than ever before—but we can definitely take it further. It’s not just about whether we waste or recycle it, but about how much paper we need to make and the trees we destroy in the process. Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide and release more oxygen into the air. The less paper we consume, the more trees we can save. Look for digital alternatives to paper use whenever possible, and if you must use paper, look for recycled paper options.
Move Toward Energy Efficiency
If no one is in a room, turn off the lights and the heat. If computers are not in use, shut them down. Install “smart” technology that adapts energy consumption automatically to building use. Consider installing low-flush toilets. Not only can offices reduce their own energy bills with these tools, but by wasting less energy they also help the environment.
Set Up a Recycling Protocol
We can’t do much about the plastic we’ve already manufactured—it won’t degrade—but we can certainly keep using and reusing it so it doesn’t clog our landfills and oceans. We can do the same for paper products (which we’ve already mentioned). Make it easy and convenient for office staff to protect the environment by setting up dedicated recycle bins around the office.
Recycle Your E-Waste
Many offices already implement the steps mentioned above, but they overlook the need to recycle their “e-waste”—computers, electronics and other devices they no longer need or use. This is the potential “fly in the ointment” that can erase much of the progress made by the other steps. These devices frequently contain non-degradable plastics, heavy metals and other toxins that can make their way to our landfills, seep into our ground water (and eventually our drinking water). The way to avoid this pitfall is to set up a recycling program for the e-waste in your office. Have a system in place where old devices are collected, recycled and/or refurbished rather than thrown in the trash.
4THBIN makes it easy for offices to preserve their carbon footprint by setting up strategic data protection and responsible e-waste disposal programs. Give us a call to learn how we can help your workplace. Click here to request a quote.