When the whole world is talking about climate change and the need to save the environment, it becomes extremely important that everyone should play an active part to achieve the target. A recent speech by 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations Climate Action Summit should also act as a reminder for every earthling to become environment crusaders. One of the best places to start is the offices where millions spend hours and unknowingly get involved in acts that are harmful to the environment. The best way to make office eco-friendly is to employ tools that can help conserve energy and decrease the use of non-renewable resources.
If we would have spoken about this a few days ago, the task would have appeared impossible but with the increasing use of technology, it is no more a difficult target. One should try to use digital copies as much as possible; it not only enables us to save trees but makes documents safer and easier to store. In case, it is extremely important to take printouts, the office should implement a policy of printing on both sides of the paper. As a part of the eco-friendly step, offices should also have the policy to use recycled papers wherever the requirement is.
There are multiple ways to achieve this. Shutdown the computers properly after use and unplug all the idle electronics. Even the chargers pull small amounts of energy even when plugged in. A study in the United States has shown that idle electronics consume electricity consumed by almost 12 power plants. Switch off all the lights when there is no need. Use LED bulbs that consume almost 75 percent less power as compared to traditional bulbs. Another big factor of energy wastage is air conditioners. Always set the temperature of AC at 25-degree centigrade and never use 'fast cool' modes that switch on the AC at 16 or 18 degrees, which is not necessary. The time to bring down the temperature of a room with 35-degree temperature to moderate 25 degrees is the same at normal cooling mode and fast cool modes. However, the electricity consumption in using fast cool mode is much higher than running it in normal mode. Basically, every equipment should be unplugged and switched off properly after use. Some offices have also started using lights that turn on only when there is movement and this saves a lot of energy.
There should be a blanket ban on using plastic items such as bottles or containers in offices. Employees should be encouraged to always carry jute bags or cloth bags. People should stop consuming juices or other beverages that come in plastic bottles. Inside the premises, the office should only keep reusable containers to be used for drinking water or coffee. Suppliers of food items and other office accessories should be requested to use less plastic. This will help spread the message that reducing the use of plastic is a major step towards becoming eco-friendly.
Install recycling bins at places that are easily accessible for employees. Spread awareness about using these bins properly that can help segregate the waste. They can dispose of their used waste in an appropriate way. Providing such tools will encourage employees to make an effort for not harming the environment. Recycling instead of throwing the waste away make air and water safe. In fact, if we can recycle around 30 percent of our trash we will save energy equal to around 12 billion gallons of gasoline. Another impact of recycling is on the economy through employment generation as a landfill site hardly needs people but a recycling plant will provide employment to many.
Basically, being eco-friendly boils down to three Rs -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Every office must appoint a sustainability team that will keep an eye on all the employees who follow three Rs. Monthly targets can be set for employees and awards given to encourage everyone to become eco-friendly. Regular environment awareness sessions should also be organized and every new employee should be informed about the eco-friendly policy.
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