10 ways to go green at the office

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10 ways to go green at the office

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There are so many ways we can adapt to reduce our carbon footprint. Sometimes we may think all we do is way too small. But one thing can make a difference. Especially when we are consistent.  When we look at how we live our lives in 24 hours, we unknowingly do a number of harms to our planet knowing or unknowingly. From our houses to the workplace and back. There is a lot that happens in between.

We are not birds, so we need to use a means of transport to take us from point A to point B. We are not forest dwellers, so we need shelter to shade us from the rain or heat. We do not have fur, feathers or scales, neither are we cold-blooded, so we need clothing to help us regulate our body temperature. All these require the use of resources. Resources we have come to derive both renewable and non-renewable. Do we always consider what we are doing, using, producing and releasing into our beautiful blue planet?

Let us remember, we are among other species that live on this planet. We, as human beings are not alone. We also need each other from the trees that provide us with the most important component of life; the air we breathe to us being given the ability to shape our planet to accommodate both man and wildlife.

Therefore, how can we ensure, as human beings sharing a planet with others who are trying to thrive as we are, we live the world a better place? As we grind every day for a source of living the planet does not need to bare the negative expense. We can live better lives, but this doesn’t have to come at the expenses of other species.

How can we make our offices environmentally friendly?

Nyika silika

  1. Switch the bulbs

If your office is using the old incandescent bulbs, you must be living in a very different era.  Use compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible. Use light wall colours for easier reflection of light. Turn the lights off in rooms when they’re not in use.

  1. Switch off computers

Always turn off all computers, printers, photocopiers, and other office equipment that does not need to be left on the whole day. They should be left off until you need to use them again. All computers or monitors should be set to their most energy efficient settings.

  1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

This means thinking about everything we use every day at the office. Recycle used office supplies whenever possible

Kenya has a number of e-waste recycling companies. As an office, instead of having e-waste lying around doing nothing, then they need to be collectively taken to the e-waste centre. Non-recycled E-waste ends up in landfills and incinerated releasing toxic fumes.

  1. Use less paper

The best way to us paper is to not use it at all. Always ask yourself whether it is necessary. Having to do corrections, revisions and updates to a specific document does not need any printing.  The only document that will need printing is the final document. We should always keep things digital whenever possible at all times. It is even much easier to keep digital files on computers or mobile devices, not file documents. Also, review digital documents on the screen instead of printing them out.

Choose to buy and use recycled paper. You can also go paperless by also asking vendors to offer e-statements and invoices instead of paper statements. Use both sides of a paper. Set up computers and printers to automatically print two-sided as well. Have online reports than printed reports.

  1. Work from home

Have a work from home schedule, particularly for those who drive to work and do not come on regular basis. This will heavily cut down on pollution, increases time availability and improve productivity. For those who come to the office regularly, encourage, an even arrange for carpooling, use of public transport, biking, or walking.

  1. Add plants to the office

Make sure your office has at least one large plant in it. If not so, several small plants. Even succulents work. They’re not only green, pretty and homely but great for recycling the air.

  1. Have a refillable bottle

Staff should be encouraged to have actual mugs, glasses, dishes and cutlery rather than disposables. It takes just seconds to wash a mug and seconds to fill up our sees with single-use plastics.

We all want to be safe at home and also where we work and even go to school. In the same light, let us be green at home, at work and everywhere else.

Nyika silika reusable bottle

  1. Reduce water usage

Always turn off taps completely, ensuring that they don’t drip. If so, they should always be fixed as soon as they appear. You pay more for the water lost than paying a plumber to fix it once. Install low-flow toilets and low-flow faucet aerators in your washrooms.

  1. Use environmentally friendly detergents

Ensure all washroom cleaning products are environmentally safe. The use of conventional, chemical-filled detergent, could be affecting you as well as the health of downstream waterways and eventually, life.

  1. Let’s go renewable

Renewable sources of energy include solar and wind energy which are now more accessible than ever. We can have rooftop solar installations and large-scale wind farms which will be tapped directly to the office building. Offices can collaborate to have solar installed on the office building.

Bonus tip:

Get employees involved in making the business or the company greener. Encourage them to bring out their own ideas of having a green office and more energy-efficient. They will feel like they are part of the team which will motivate them. This will not only increase productivity but ensure a greener planet.

‘Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

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Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to vicki@nyikasilika.org or vickiwangui26@gmail.com.

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