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Five Steps for a Greener Office

A study launched earlier this week claims that people are far less likely to recycle at work than they are at home.

Conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, the study of 2,000 Brits revealed that while just 1 per cent admitted to not recycling at home, this figure rose to 15 per cent in the workplace.

At Clarity we are immensely proud of our recycling rates, and set ourselves tough targets to keep improving and reducing our impact on the environment each year. Recycling is not the only way to be green in the workplace. Here we share our tips for running a more sustainable office.

Driving a car is said to be the most popular way to travel to work in the UK, but encouraging your workforce to use alternative means of travel is a great step to reducing your carbon footprint. You can car share with colleagues or if you live in a different direction to those you work with, there are lift sharing apps that you can use. Half the cost, half the pollution.

Public transport is nearly always accessible and in a growing number of cities buses are being replaced with electric vehicles which are even better for the environment.

Even better you could walk or cycle to work, not only does this reduce your carbon footprint but also your travel costs and stress levels, all whilst improving your fitness. If your business signs up to the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme you can save over 40 per cent on bikes and equipment.

For some businesses, allowing employees to work from home or to work flexible hours can also help to reduce travel time, as well as time spent in traffic.

Invest in an electric car. Many people are put off by the perception they cannot run for extreme lengths but this is not true, most top EV’s can run for over a hundred miles and the UK is investing millions in to creating an abundance of charging points. Just remember the people who run out of fuel in an ordinary vehicle are the same ones who run out of energy in an electric vehicle. We have two here at Clarity and we love them.

If you have an important meeting coming up, how about trying video or conference calling? Being able to hold meetings from your desk also gives you greater flexibility for timings and scheduling, and causes less disruption to work. It also saves on travel expenses.

Do you have any nature in your office? Numerous studies have highlighted the positive effects of having more greenery in your workspace.

They clean the air. While we need oxygen to live, plants help to absorb a gas we don’t need – carbon dioxide – making it cleaner for us to breathe.

Not only do plants have environmental impacts, they also have many other benefits, and can reduce stress and increase productivity in a workplace. They have even been proven to help lower the sickness and absence rates for a business. You can see results from the ‘HUMAN SPACES: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design’. And finally, do you not agree that they make every space look nicer?

You would be surprised how much recyclable waste gets thrown in to general waste. Make sure your office has clearly marked waste and recycling bins so that there is no confusion as to what can and can’t be recycled. You can visit Recycle Now if you are unsure, you can find your local recycling instructions on here too. And share the information with colleagues so that everyone is educated. Here are some astonishing facts from Recycling Guide:

• One recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours. Recycle a few of these and you can watch the rest of that boxset guilt-free!

• One recycled glass bottle will save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

• One recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a light bulb for three hours.

• 70 per cent less energy is needed to recycle paper as opposed to making it from raw materials. Only use paper in the office if you must and make sure it is 100 per cent recycled and FSC certified, which means forests are managed with consideration for people, wildlife and the environment.

• Researchers says that up to 80 per cent of the things we throw away could be easily recycled or composted.

Have you ever heard of a community fridge? Set up by charity Hubbub, they are communal places where surplus food is shared between people in a community, by local businesses and individuals. They are growing by the day and are placed all over the UK. Visit Hubbub to find the closest point to you.

The average family in the UK is said to waste just under £500 a year by throwing away food and drink which could have been eaten, and £3 billion is wasted by food sectors. Despite growing awareness of food waste, there are few easy ways for people or businesses to get food near its ‘sell by’ date to others.

You could make it a weekly business trip to your local community fridge with all the unwanted food and drink in the office or you can encourage each other to bring in things from home? Like that last slice of bread that we all never eat. This will create good advertisement for your business in your community and give you a great sense of satisfaction. So far Community Fridges have helped thousands connect to their communities, access nutritious food, save money and reduce waste.

Google is used to make around 1.2 trillion web searches every year worldwide. If you’re open to trying an alternative, Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue. The Ecosia community plants a tree every 1.1 seconds and they have planted over 22 million trees to date. And it is free!

If you have any more suggestions we have missed please let us know, and if you have enjoyed reading and would like to receive tips and industry information on a regular basis, then please subscribe to our monthly newsletter here

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