There are a lot of simple ways to go green. Whether it’s cutting back on water and electrical consumption or switching from paper copies to digital, every organization can identify cheap and easy methods for improving sustainability. Over time, these small steps make a big difference.
The air is a good place to start. Think about how your organization affects the air outside and think about how the air inside affects your organization. In many ways, the two are connected, as recent studies have found that outdoor air pollution can negatively affect indoor air quality.
Here are a few ways to reduce outdoor and indoor pollution:
Outdoor air pollution
- Encourage ride-sharing or public transportation: Incentivizing carpooling, public transit and biking is a great way to motivate your colleagues to cut down your organization’s carbon footprint. What’s more, it’ll encourage collaboration (carpooling) and wellness (biking, walking, skateboarding).
- Implement end-of-day shutdown policies: If your workplace is like most, computers are imperative to day-to-day business. Shutting everything down at the end of the day, and unplugging devices whenever possible, greatly reduces energy usage.
- Reuse and recycle (and compost): Reusing and recycling paper, bottles and cardboard has become common practice, but there may be other items you use every day that can be recycled or donated. For example, Americans throw away four million pens daily, according to Open Forum. The publication recommends switching to reusable pens, a more sustainable solution.
Indoor air quality
- Switch to green cleaning products: Chemical cleaners often contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and leave a strong odor. These particles linger in the air and can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and throat irritation, making it difficult to get any work done. Green cleaning products use natural ingredients and reduce air pollution. More importantly, they’re healthier for all occupants in your facility.
- Use environmentally friendly office products: If you’re considering sprucing up the office, keep in mind that furniture, paint and building materials can all have a long-term effect on indoor air quality. For example, some pressed wood furniture releases formaldehyde and, unless specified, paint generally contain VOCs.
- Implement efficient air purification: The best commercial grade air purifiers are designed to efficiently utilize energy and remove up to 99.9 percent of pollutants from the air. These machines help create healthier and cleaner facilities, as well as prioritize energy consumption by only cleaning rooms that need it most when it it’s needed most.