We all know the importance of making your business as green as possible, businesses that make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon foot print find they can lower their energy bills and reduce their overheads as well as generating great PR, and great PR helps attract great staff and great customers.
There are plenty of ways to turn your office green, from recycling paper, using low energy light bulbs and installing sensor lights so you’re not lighting rooms with no one in them.
Have you ever thought about other areas of your business you can turn green? What about the cafeteria? If you manage a larger office there’s a good chance you’ll have communal lunch room or even a kitchen, if your staff are eating food at work there are lots of ways you could be reducing your carbon foot print.
Are Your Staff Bringing Their Own Lunches In?
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’ve got clearly labelled recycling bins for all main materials, glass, cans, plastic and foil. The majority of offices will have a paper recycling bin in the main office but it’s the lunch room that needs a wider selection. If your staff are bringing in sandwiches wrapped in aluminium foil or canned drinks they need somewhere to dispose of them. If your staff do bring their own lunches in you might want to think about providing company Tupperware tubs. Rather than bringing in cans of drinks everyday they could borrow a drinks bottle that could be washed each day. Instead of wrapping their sandwiches in cling film or foil you could provide sandwich boxes which also get washed at the end of each day. It’s common place for most offices to have vending machines but make sure you’re being as eco-friendly as possible with them. Your staff might like the standard crisps and chocolate bars but consider installing a vending machine with fresh fruit or ethically sources and fair trade snacks. By shopping around you’ll be able to reduce the amount of landfill waste coming from your cafeteria.
Larger businesses are going to have working kitchen whether they’re so the staff can help themselves or they’re providing a set menu for your staff, there are plenty of ways to get your kitchen’s carbon footprint down: Look at where you’re sourcing your ingredients from. The general wholesaler down the road might have been convenient but what about using local produce? If you get through large volumes of milk or vegetables every day have a chat with your local farmers. They might even be able to undercut the wholesale provider and because they won’t have as far to travel they’ll stay fresher for longer. One of the main energy wastes from large kitchens is the food itself and the chances are you’re throwing lots of it out every day. Once the lunch time rush is over asses what you have left and send a general email round your staff letting them know which meals are still in the canteen and they’re available for takeaway at a reduced price – the chances are you staff will be grateful they don’t have to cook a meal when they get home and you’re reducing the amount you’re throwing away. As simple as it sounds make sure everything is turned off when everyone goes back to work. Leaving kitchen appliances plugged in and on standby is going to be using energy when it’s not necessary. Obviously you’re not going to unplug the fridge but make sure the microwave door isn’t left open and all the lights are switched off.
Image courtesy of creative commons via flickr.com/photos/2493/
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