Green plants are a great way to create ambiance, fill unused space and provide clean air, but they aren’t the only ways to cheaply and easily bring more green into your workspace. We all know that “green” business practices are a good idea. Even if you don’t buy into the notion of saving the planet, green workspace practices absolutely save….green (I’m talking dead presidents, coin, moolah…) and, who doesn’t like the sound of that? At Pacific Workplaces, we pride ourselves on taking those easy, extra steps and doing our part. We adhere, as best we can, to the sustainability mantra: recycle, reuse and reduce.
Here are some examples of how we do our part.
- Each of our center locations has a set aside paper recycling station. We encourage our clients to empty their junk mail, their excess paper and their shredding into these boxes which are then taken to larger recycling stations.
- We have battery and cell phone recycling boxes located in our business lounges to provide our clients an easy solution for disposal.
- We provide meeting room and work spaces that are reused, over and over and over by a myriad of differing businesses, allowing each to save resources and their precious commodity (money) by not having to own the space and equipment required for these uses.
- We routinely announce the dates and locations of nearby E-Waste events to help our clients properly dispose of their outdated office equipment.
- We provide glass-ware and filtered water systems for our clients use (and happily do the dishes) so that we may limit the number of plastic water bottles that find their way into our trash cans and then the landfill. For those that don’t like the notion of sharing cups, we offer paper cups as, at least, a better solution than individual single use plastic bottles. We also provide actual utensils instead of plastic throwaways, which results in a great savings on the Costco bill.
- E-Mail Fax is another great tool for reducing waste of both time and resources. Most of our clients are given an Email Fax number. Their documents go straight into their email account for review and can be filed or stored with just the click of a button.
- We routinely reuse our office products. For example, we reuse all of our file folders. By using pencil to identify the file’s subject or simply turning the folder over and writing the new subject on the back side of the tab we give each folder new life. We also bundle our mistaken prints and copies, cut the sheets in half, one staple to the corner and, viola, a free note pad. Padded envelopes, boxes and packing materials are also saved for reuse.
- Recycling aluminum and glass is easy and a money maker too. We have a location in each business lounge where our clients can deposit their aluminum and glass containers. We then have children of staff who are responsible for emptying the container and are allowed to keep the redemption money for their efforts.
We make an effort to illustrate how effective, remote work programs, like those provided by CloudVO (www.CloudVirtualOffice.com ) can save a lot of green (workspace solutions run on average $250 per month), can keep peace at home and increases productivity.
Here’s what you can do:
- We referenced junk mail above – the myriad of catalogs each of us receives monthly. There are resources for you to contact to get off those mailing lists, www.CatalogChoice.org is the one I’ve used.
- Bring a reusable water bottle or mug from home. The images of plastic waste floating in the Pacific should be enough to keep anyone reminded of the importance of this easy solution.
- Bring reusable meal containers from home. Leftovers are a great way to protect your green (as long as the containers are rinsed and taken home; not left as a lab experiments in the fridge).
- Use wood pencils. Disposable pens create much more waste than wood pencils – and mistakes are so much easier to correct. Nice quality reusable pens are another great opportunity to save resources and money – the refills are quite reasonable and generally last longer than a disposable pen.
- Teleworking, when it is an option, is a no brainer. Limiting office commutes to just 3 days per week can save $1800 to $4500 annually and reduce oil consumption, greenhouse gas and the emission of other pollutants plus saves on job related transportation accident costs.
Be heard. If the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle is important to you, and you believe your workplace can do better, then offer your suggestions. There are so many ways to make a difference, it only takes a little effort. A way to be heard more loudly is to ask your fellow work mates to sign a “pledge” in which each agrees to do their personal best to reduce waste.
Many of us don’t control the purchasing of light bulbs, lighting or heating and air schedules or levels of insulation within our workspaces, but by being vocal, we can influence change. Ask that the building maintenance staff only remove trash bags when there are liquids or food product in the trash. Biodegradable bags would also make a big difference. They are pricier, but perhaps in exchange for less frequent maintenance (4 days per week instead of 5) this may be an option.
Do you have ideas to share? Perhaps it is something we can use in a future blog? Feel free to share with us your ideas, there is always room for improvement. Pacific Business Centers’ staff can be reached at [email protected] and we’d like to hear from you.
Tracy Wilson is a Managing Partner with Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces), a California based Serviced Workspace.