Today is Earth Day, which people around the world are celebrating and observing as part of their commitment to improving the quality of life for people and the planet. Earth Day began in 1970 as a nationwide demonstration by millions throughout America for a “healthy, sustainable” environment.
Nearly 50 years later, Earth Day has advocates in hundreds of countries, where they work to reduce CO2 emissions and the levels of plastics in the oceans, and take other measures (clean-ups, tree planting) that protect life. Here are a few ways you can go green and be eco-friendly at work today and in the years ahead:
1. Reuse Cups and Utensils
According to an Earth Day Network fact sheet, we use over 16 billion disposable coffee cups and 480 billion plastic bottles each year. Most of that will end up in landfills, waterways and oceans. Companies are taking action against waste by removing plastic cups and cutlery from their break rooms. You can help in this effort by bringing water bottles to work that you can refill, wash, and reuse. Your organization can also offer reusable cups and utensils, and encourage employees to bring their own silverware from home.
2. Save Paper
If you use email, you may have read this below some signatures: “Please Consider the Environment Before Printing.” It’s good advice to follow when you consider the cost of printing (the electricity of printers, printer cartridges). I tend to print my documents to a pdf file. If you need a paper copy, and it covers multiple pages, print it out as a two-sided document. You should also have bins in the office for recycling paper when you don’t need those documents anymore.
3. Look for Energy Waste
A commitment to green AV helps the environment by limiting energy usage. It also helps companies by lowering the cost of running their facilities and the systems that their employees use. If you notice leaking faucets or lights that are out, report the issues to your facilities department. And please turn off the tap while you are washing your hands or dishes.
4. Add Plants to Your Desk
You’ll improve your indoor air quality by adding some greenery to your work space. Plants can offset volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 emissions, both of which harm indoor air quality. And the benefits go beyond measurable impacts on the environment. A study by U.K. researchers found that when people were surrounded by plants in the office, they were happier and more productive.
5. Choose Green AV Options/Recycle Old Tech
Instead of traveling to another office for a meeting, use video conferencing. Video conferencing can reduce your organization’s carbon footprint along with real estate costs. Work with LEED-accredited professionals like AVI-SPL to integrate sustainable technology that meets LEED-certified building standards.
AVI-SPL supports green AV through its participation in an electronics recycling program where out-of-service equipment is collected and recycled in order to fund technology labs for children who might otherwise not have access to computers. AVI-SPL also has LEED-certified engineers who can design workplaces that are energy efficient and help people collaborate easily with one another, whether they’re in the same room or at remote locations.