How to Create an Eco-Friendly Workplace
Save money and the environment by following a few of these eco-friendly business meeting tips. Becoming an environmentally conscious business is good for publicity and good for developing your brand.
These days, everyone is talking about the environment and what we need to do to make the world cleaner, greener, and healthier for everyone. Adopting eco-friendly habits is easy at home when you can parcel out responsibility and take control over the things you buy for yourself and your family. Making your meetings at work eco-friendly isn’t hard when you put your mind to it and encourage everyone to pitch in. Here are some quick, no-nonsense tips for planning your next office meeting in the cleanest, greenest way possible!
Assign green team volunteers prior to each meeting. Make green meetings a group effort and give everyone a chance to be accountable for helping the organization be more environmentally friendly.
Cut down on unnecessary ink usage by reducing the number or dark or black graphics on your printed materials. If meeting attendees are printing your handouts out before or after the meeting on their own printers, they’ll likely appreciate that their toner cartridges won’t get used up.
Use recycled paper and eco-friendly office supplies. Paper made from post consumer waste is easy to find and inexpensive. As well, the variety of eco-friendly office supplies available at affordable prices is growing each year. Be picky when it comes to the things that your organization spends money on. Saving the environment is worth a few extra nickels and dimes here and there.
Cut back on carbon emissions. Promote carpooling. Choose event venues that are easily accessed on public transit. Encourage biking to the event and assure attendees that there will be a safe place for them to park their bikes.
Ditch the bottled water. Tap water in most areas is perfectly safe and acceptable for human consumption. If you aren’t keen on the taste of tap water, you can buy a large pitcher with a changeable water filter (i.e. Brita). The video below offers some interesting insights into how we have been fooled into thing that bottled water is better for us that tap water.
Reduce electricity use. Turn off electronics when they are not in use during the meeting. Turn off or power down the overhead projector when you are not using it.
If possible, serve organic snacks and fair-trade tea and coffee. Not every organization can afford to serve a 100% organic refreshment break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start small with a few organic items at each meeting. Buying produce in season and fresh bakery items made locally are other great ways to make your meeting
Avoid using disposable serving ware. If your office has a kitchen and a bit of extra cupboard space, there really is no excuse for using disposable serving ware. Employees should take responsibility for doing their own coffee mugs and pitching in to clean up plates, cutlery and serving dishes. By investing in a set of dishes and cutlery, your office will save money in the long run. The cost of the dishes will pay for itself when compared to the cost of buying disposable items again and again.
If you are holding a meeting off-site must use disposable items, choose eco-friendly bio-degrable compostable products.
Don’t waste leftover food and refreshments. Encourage meeting attendees to help themselves to an extra muffin or a few cookies before they go. Invite then to them up their re-useable mugs with any remaining tea or coffee. Remember, if your event was catered and you paid for it, you are entitled to the leftovers. A caterer can’t reuse pastries or any other food that we put out on the buffet. It has to get tossed out, so you might as well invite attendees to grab a few treats before they go.
Ask meeting attendees to recycle their plastic name tag holders at the end of the seminar. Place a basket on a table near the exit with a sign on it reminding guests to drop off their name badges before they leave.
Clean up with green eco-supplies. Instead of cleaning up the meeting room with harsh chemical sprays and disinfectants, use natural ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, and baking soda. A mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water makes a perfectly good disinfectant. For washing the dishes, make sure you choose a phosphate-free, biodegradable dish liquid.
Turn out the lights when you leave the meeting room. Make sure powerbars are turned off and all electronic devices are unplugged. Even when an appliance or device is switched off it can still be sucking up energy.
Start taking steps to making your meetings greener right now. Your organization might not be able to implement all of these green tips right all at once, but you can still get started. Take gradual small steps toward reducing your carbon footprint, and before you know it, planning meetings that are good to Mother Earth will become second nature!
What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to bad habits that harm the environment?
© 2014 Sally Hayes