13 things we do in the office to be more sustainable

By Jessica Beau Paul

Building a culture of sustainability in the workplace takes time and effort. But the good news is, people tend to adapt to it relatively quickly once these practices are adopted by a few. We thought we'd share some of the small ways we build a culture of sustainability in our workplace. These small things practised over time will save your business money, and the environment.

  1. We reduce our use of convenience items – If we buy lunch out, we take our own containers or bowls from the office. If we must get a container for convenience, we opt for the compostable kind like those from Innocent Packaging and Friendly Pak
  2. We have a recycling system and we’ve learnt how to use it correctly (with the help of our in-house plastics expert – Phil Jones).
  3. We compost all our food, coffee and tea waste
  4. We have a fully functioning kitchen so we can make and bring in healthy lunches. Then there’s less reason to buy out
  5. We take the stairs, three flights to be exact. We don’t have a lot of choice in this one as there is no elevator, however we have a few people who do this (on purpose) several times a day for exercise.
  6. We order containers of loose leaf tea and stock our coffee from Peoples and Kokako for our espresso machine. This saves a lot of waste in terms of single use cups, tea bags and jars of freeze-dried coffee
  7. We have keep cups to use in the office and take them with us to our meetings offsite.
  8. We share our offices with another company to save on cost.
  9. We shop for our office products mindfully – we support our members wherever possible.
  10. We encourage walking, using the bus or e-bikes to get to work, meetings and events – this certainly saves on travel costs. If we must use a car, we have a Toyota electric vehicle.
  11. We use digital as often as possible. We use our printing scraps as scribble pads. It’s a no-brainer.
  12. We remember to turn off the lights! Simple, but effective.
  13. We ask staff to make a personal commitment to sustainable practices of their choice, and track their progress.

Normally, we challenge businesses to be audacious in sustainability goals but there are always small things we can do that add up to something great. What sustainability actions are you encouraging in your office? Hit up jessica@sustainable.org.nz for any innovations you have in your office and we just might share them!