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Do you recognise how important it is to care for the environment?
Whether you are an employee or a business owner, making sure
environmentally sustainable practices are in place should be a high
priority. Here are some key steps for making an office more
Take a look at your office paper usage – everyone knows to print
double-sided and use recycled paper, but take it a step further. Do
you need to print at all? With electronic signatures, electronic
forms, and online file-sharing, you can significantly reduce your
paper waste. Try an online filing system where you can save all your
information and without having to use paper. There
are many more ways to reduce paper usage in the office. The
easiest way to reduce paper is to look at what you are printing and
ask yourself, why? As with anything, once you start to look, you'll
find lots of things you can change to save time and money … and paper.
Whenever you are purchasing a new product, try and consider if you
can reuse not only the product but its packaging. Takeaway containers
and bottled water are prime examples. Less
than 40 per cent of water bottles are recycled, the rest ends up in
landfill or in our waterways.
Recycling is the golden rule of waste management, so take a good look
at what you are recycling in the office. You probably have the
standard red, yellow and blue bins for general waste, recycling and
paper. What about fluorescent lights, batteries, toner and mobile
phones? Are your computers being disposed of by an accredited e-waste
recycler or are they ending up on a beach in Cambodia?
A lot of councils do more segregation at the landfill now, so they
would be a first point of call, but your standard waste disposers can
be useful too. Planet Ark is also
a great resource with advice on how you can improve your recycling
across the board.
Take a step further – what do you have in the kitchenette or café?
Have you banned polystyrene cups? They are an environmental hazard and
last forever in landfill. Are you supplying or serving fair trade or
Rainforest Alliance teas and coffees? These are small things that can
make a significant difference.
Air quality is another issue, yet it can be hard to determine without
complex tests. Air conditioning systems can spread germs, and
hazardous vapours known as volatile
organic compounds (VOC) from paint and furniture. Using low VOC
paints is one way to reduce smells and odours. Making sure your
air-conditioning filters are being cleaned regularly is another. As
a final check, place hardy, low-care office plants around the office
to help purify the air.
Think about your wider workplace. There are lots of ways to make the
world a better place; from setting efficiency standards for everything
you buy, to adding environmental clauses in contracts, or installing
solar panels. Plus, you can probably save money along the way.
Creating a sustainable environment, which includes implementing
environmentally friendly initiatives at your workplace, requires
subject-specific knowledge and skills. You can gain those skills by
doing TAFE NSW's new course: Certificate IV in Environmental
Management and Sustainability. The course is offered on a part-time
basis over 18 weeks and starts on 2 May 2017. It is also subsidised by
the government under the Smart and Skilled scheme. To enrol or learn
more about the course, visit the TAFE
NSW course page or call 131 674.