How To Be More Eco-Conscious at Work

Practice being more eco-friendly at work by checking out these easy tips to help your company save on energy and money

Many companies across the world are taking the initiative to create a more environmentally conscious company culture through eco-friendly policies. Being environmentally conscious refers to an individual or a business that is aware of the impact it has on its surrounding environment. No matter what kind of job you have or where you are located, there are always ways to incorporate being green into your everyday work life. A lot of people struggle with the idea of “going green” because they just don’t know where to start. Within this article, we are going to talk about the different areas you can incorporate being eco-friendly into your career.

Office Activities

The first place you can focus on being more eco-friendly at work is the general office environment. This can apply to you if you are a big decision maker in your business or even if you want to mention some of these ideas to your boss or other coworkers.

If you happen to be in a higher management position or even own your business, you may have more say in the general activities that go on within your office. For example, if you have the power to change the type of electricity your company uses, you may want to consider investing in solar panels. Solar panels are amazing for the environment as they take the energy from the sun’s rays to power the various technologies in your office without producing any harmful toxins into the air. Using lights with motion sensors is another way to cut back on using electricity and it takes the pressure off remembering to switch off the lights every night. As a light switch is a high touchpoint, this also helps eliminate the spread of germs! While you’re staying germ-free and thinking about all the electricity you're saving, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator to double your savings.

Another way you can help the environment is by looking into purchasing remanufactured ink. Remanufactured toner cartridges are brand cartridges that have been cleaned, refilled with comparable-quality toner, and tested to deliver the same print quality as the original cartridge. More than 375 million empty printer cartridges end up in landfills every year and an average printer cartridge takes about 1000 years to decompose. Along with this, toner and ink cartridges are classified as potentially carcinogenic which means the toxins and heavy metals of these products contaminate water and soil with volatile organic compounds. Buying recycled ink cartridges will really make a big difference.

If you are looking around your office and there is a lack of blue bins with arrows formed into a triangle, then it looks like your office is missing something. Implementing a recycling program into your workspace is a standard way of supporting mindfulness around sustainability. You can also look into the safe removal and donation of old computer parts and other items to a local organization supporting the ethical recycling of electronics.

Something that you can consider also considers that you’re able to take your own creative liberties with is supporting green vendors! No matter what you are in need of whether it be socks, pencils, or even a keyboard, there is probably a company that makes an eco-friendly version.

Paper that says reduce, reuse, recycle
Reducing, reusing, and recycling is something that can easily be done in your work environment. You can reduce your use of paper, reuse kitchen appliances like water bottles, mugs, and silverware, and recycle paper and plastic products you use in the office.

Desk Space

Even if you have no control over what happens in the general office space, doing little things in your own area such as on your desk can still be helpful to the environment.

Buying yourself a desk plant is just one example of something easy and fun to do that will help how eco-conscious you are at work. Plants actually produce more oxygen, offsetting any chemicals released into the air by new office furniture or cleaning products. This, in turn, makes a cleaner, happier space for you to do your work. Maximizing natural light will benefit your desk plant as well as cut down on the usage of electricity from ceiling lights or lamps.

Something that many people use a lot subconsciously every single day is paper. By striving to go paperless or as paperless as you can, you are definitely helping the environment. With all the technology available to us today, going paperless is not too difficult. Even with something as simple as sending coworkers holiday cards, you may want to switch over to e-cards to show your care for cutting back on waste.

If it is absolutely necessary to print material for your job, consider sharing printed material with your coworkers. Whether that means hanging it in a public place or just walking back and forth between offices to share specific papers.

It could also be fun to see if any of your coworkers would be interested in a monthly green challenge. This could mean giving a gift card to those who don’t use plastic ware for a month or giving a day off to whoever utilizes the recycling bin the most.

Before you leave your office after a day of work, double-check to make sure you turn off the heat, lighting, and electronics. Not only will your boss be happy for a smaller electricity bill, but the environment will be happy you are not wasting this power when it is not needed.

a woman at a desk with a desk plant
Your desk is no longer just a place where you answer emails and finish paperwork, but it is now a place where you can help improve the quality of the environment. Try practicing your eco-friendly lifestyle by adopting a desk plant, using natural light, going paperless.

Kitchen & Bathroom  

If you are someone who works in an office for extensive hours that require you to have a lunch break and frequent bathroom breaks, then this section will be relevant to you.

If you are someone who purchases plastic water bottles frequently, you are obviously not alone. Purchasing plastic water bottles is quite a common practice. Unfortunately, when people do not practice recycling, many water bottles end up in the oceans. This results in a high rate of pollution in our oceans and the overall environment. One plastic water bottle will break into 10,000 microplastic pieces over time and the microplastic pollution is incredibly hard to clean. This along with other factors is what makes buying a reusable water bottle so appealing. You can even remind yourself and your other co-workers to avoid plastic straws by bringing some metal straws into your office for public use.

Other ways you can be eco-friendly in the office kitchen is to drink out of reusable mugs when you’re getting your daily dose of caffeine, and pack your lunch with reusable Tupperware rather than plastic bags that are meant to be thrown away after one use.

A bathroom may seem pretty consistent in all areas of the world, but you actually have the opportunity to make your bathroom eco-friendly if you so choose. Some ways you can do this are to use eco-friendly cleaning products, eco-friendly toilet paper, and even using hand dryers instead of paper towels.

meal prep in plastic reusable containers
Does it seem like the garbage in the kitchen is always too full? You can help eliminate some of the waste by using reusable water bottles, tupperware, and avoiding plastic straws.

Commuting

Believe it or not, you can even be eco-conscious at work when you are not even at work. By this, I am referring to your commute. There are several different ways to commute to work depending on how close or far you are from your building. Some of the different possible ways to get to and from work are:

  • Carpooling
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Public transportation

Another option for a green commute is telecommuting. Many bosses will allow employees to work from home virtually on their computer, tablet, or phone. If your company doesn’t offer this, you could always try asking about it. Telecommuting is convenient for you and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

a woman with a mask reads the news paper on a subway
Try reducing your carbon footprint by using public transportation, carpooling, walking, or even biking instead of driving.


Going green at work does not always have to be something that is extremely difficult or expensive. It is the little things done by everyday people like you and me that will help our environment. When it comes to places like work and home it is most important to practice being eco-conscious in these areas. The reason for this being, we spend the most time in these areas and if we create good daily habits, the results will be incredible. If you found any of these tips to be valuable please feel free to share with family, friends, and co-workers and see how other people can implement these and other ideas into their own lives. Let us know how these tips work for you.

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Sarah Parry

Sarah is an entrepreneur based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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