We all know it’s important to be eco-friendly but sometimes we don’t always know where to start, especially at work where we’re all busy with the daily grind. However it certainly pays to be conscious of our environment – extra pennies in the bank and a clearer mind – surely these are some good incentives to get you into action?
Understanding recycling and increasing your efforts
Did you know? It can take plastic up to 500 years to decompose – make sure it gets recycled instead!
A common misconception is that disposable takeaway cups (this includes your beloved on-the-way to-work coffee) are recyclable. Although some now are, the majority are made from cardboard but lined in plastic to keep the liquid contained. Buying a reusable coffee cup (you can even get collapsible ones for easier transportation) will save you money in the long-term as many coffee shops will give a discount should you bring one in, so the cup will eventually pay for itself.
Batteries shouldn’t go into a normal waste bin as the chemicals may leak into the ground, contaminating the soil and this can also contribute to water pollution – find out from your local council if batteries can be put with your recycling waste or do an Internet search to find your closest recycling point for them. Alternatively, opt for rechargeable batteries!
If a container is spoiled by food that you can’t remove such as oil soaked into cardboard, this is considered waste as opposed to recycling, so pop it in your general waste to avoid dirtying the rest of your recycling.
Ditch the plastic bottles!
A water cooler or a water filter will help you to reduce your plastic intake.
Switching from halogen lightbulbs to LED – on average an LED bulb will last 10 times longer and will use approximately 85% less electricity than a halogen bulb. They’re a few pounds more expensive at the time of purchase but you will definitely save this during their life span. You’ll feel smug under your eco-friendly bright lights.
Paper usage – a big and unnecessary offender
Did you know? 50% of waste created by businesses comprises of paper AND it takes on average five litres of water to produce one A4 piece of paper; that’s more than double your recommended water intake a day!
Before printing, double check your print settings! Use the ‘print on both sides’ option to avoid blank sides and doubling up your printing.
When you no longer need your paper copy – simply pop it into your recycling bin. If it contains confidential information (names, e-mail addresses, banking information) invest in a shredder or a confidential waste collection.
Try car sharing or using public transport once a week
Whether this in with your colleagues or through a car sharing network, you can either utilise your car ride and earn a little towards your fuel or hop in someone else’s car – you’ll save money on your commute AND reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Using public transport may not be viable to you, but if you do know it’s possible for you to use without it compromising your journey too much then trying it once a week can be a small way to reduce the amount of cars on the road.