9 tips to make your office space more sustainable

Many of us work in offices every day, but how often do we look around and analyze the sustainability aspects and impact of our work spaces? Making your space more sustainable can include simple practices like printing double sided to more involved practices like starting an office compost.

This January, the Office of Sustainability launched the Green Spaces program which certifies and recognizes University of Alberta offices, events and labs that make commitments to sustainable practices.

When growing your sustainable space or updating your old one keep these 9 ideas in mind:

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1) Adjust the temperature

Adjust your refrigerator temperature to 4°C and freezer to -18°C. These settings will keep your food at the optimal temperatures while requiring your fridge to work less– therefore conserving energy.

2) Dish out the dishes

Get your office a full supply of reusable dishware, cutlery, and cups. This reduces the amount of plastic and paper waste created by disposable plates and cutlery.

3) Free fertilizer anybody?

Compost your organic food waste. Composting creates a high-quality, nutrient-rich soil fertilizer for use in gardens and indoor plants. It also diverts waste from the landfill creating more positive environmental, economic and social benefits.

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4) Sip out of a water bottle

Refill your own water bottle throughout the day instead of purchasing bottled water. Not only does having your own bottle give you the chance to add some personality to your daily hydration, it also reduces the amount of plastic headed to the landfill and reduces the demand for bottled water.

5) Start a scrap paper collection

Create a place for collecting scrap paper that you can reuse for other projects. Try making scrap paper notepads! This will get some extra use out of your paper.

6) Go green with your computer

Use the following green computing practices throughout the lifespan of your computer, as well as upon purchase and disposal, to reduce the amount of energy your computer uses, save money on your electricity bill, and reduce the amount of hazardous materials (such as heavy metals from your computer) that end up in the landfill:

  1. Buy energy efficient computers
  2. Buy hardware appropriate for the job
  3. Replace a CRT monitor with an LCD monitor
  4. Print double-sided, and print only when necessary
  5. Use the power-saving features on your computer
  6. Avoid standby power by unplugging devices that are not in use
  7. Recycle your old computers at one of Edmonton’s Eco-Stations

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7) Unplug equipment when not in use.

Switch off lights and unplug equipment when not in use. Many appliances and electronic devices draw electricity at all times, even when they are not in use. This “stand-by power” is used by televisions, microwaves and even phone chargers.

8) Plastic-less bags!

Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Not only are reusable bags more durable and allow you to carry more weight, they can also save you money since many stores are charging you for plastic bags. Reusable bags can add some style to your shopping fashion. Also bringing your own reusable bags helps reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfills.

9) Eco friendly dish soap

By taking simple steps to adopt greener cleaning practices, such as making your own cleaners at home, you can reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and help make the planet a healthier place. Check out the alternatives to conventional cleaners in our Green Guide.
Please leave a comment sharing your tips and tricks for greening spaces on campus.

3. (n.d.) Facts about Paper and Paper Waste. iD2 Communications. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.id2.ca/downloads/eco-design-paper-facts.pdf

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