Sustainable practices make for a better work environment—and a healthier planet.

Recycling has become commonplace throughout corporate offices, but participating in this practice alone isn’t enough for a company to be considered “green.” From travel to and from the office, energy use, supply needs and more, companies and their employees had a significant detrimental impact on the environment each day. If you want to make your company more environmentally friendly, here are some simple changes to make throughout your office.

Sip from Reusable Mugs

An easy switch is going from disposable to reusable cups. One of our clients encourages its employees to bring in personal mugs and avoid using disposable cups, and at Paragraphs, our kitchen is stocked with mugs that employees can use. Considering all the coffee we drink each day (a lot!), we significantly cut down on our waste: Compared to a one-and-done use of disposable cups, a ceramic cup is used an average of 2,000 times before it is broken or tossed. Happy sipping!

Encourage Public Transportation

In a big city like Chicago, Boston or San Francisco? Encourage your employees to use public transportation and reduce their carbon footprint. Cars that get 22 miles to the gallon output an estimated 4.3 metric tons annually, so a single company with 1,000 employees who drive to work every day will contribute a whopping 4,3000 metric tons each year. From offering fully or partially covered bus passes to participating in tax benefit programs through your local transit authority, your employees can save green while being green.

Team Build Through Volunteer Work

Your team can have fun and get to know each other while helping the planet. If there is a local option, consider adopting a highway, river or park and keep trash out. This avenue requires a recurring time commitment, so rotate teams (if your company is large enough) or set up a schedule to ensure that the spot is being tended. You can also sponsor a garden at a local park or community center and have employees participate by planting flowers. Can’t make time out of the office? Volunteer products or services to non-profit organizations who focus on the environment.

 Switch to Ecosia

Move over, Google. There’s a new search engine in town. Ecosia is a search engine that uses its ad revenues to plant trees, and its user community helps plant a tree every 5 seconds. To date, over 7 million trees have been planted. Continue to browse the web like usual with the bonus of saving the environment and feeling good.

Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products

Your office space can be germ-free and smell good without exposing your employees or the environment to harmful chemicals. Purchase cleaning products from companies that use environmentally friendly ingredients and avoid products that use toxic or irritating chemicals.

Opt for Reusable & Recycled Office Supplies

Around 1.6 billion pens are thrown away in the United States each year. Help cut down on this number by giving employees reusable pens and stocking your supply cabinets with refills. Encourage re-fillable notebooks (hint: This would make a great corporate gift!); when the employees are finished, they can recycle the old sheets and fill with new. Batteries, glass or stainless steel water bottles, dry erase calendars, dishes, recycled paper or re-filling toners (instead of buying new) are easy switches that prevent less waste.

Continued use of these practices will make a difference in just a day, though its effects may not be apparent until some time has passed. By helping the environment you’ll also help your bottom line thanks to fewer dollars spent. Ready for more “sustainable” information? Read our white paper on the expanding role of sustainability.

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