Global warming, deforestation and water pollution are all great environmental concerns which many environmental groups and governments are trying to solve. Large businesses are already making an effort to embed sustainability into their supply chains through reducing plastic and energy consumption, but what can we do to make the office environment more sustainable? We take a look at 5 simple ways to incorporate sustainability into your office fit out or office refurbishment project.
Reuse existing furniture
If you’re planning on investing in an office refurbishment project you are more than likely going to have some unwanted office furniture. Before throwing any furniture into a skip it may be worth looking at whether the life of the furniture can be extended through either re-purposing, selling, recycling or donating to charities and small businesses. For more tips on how to dispose of your old furniture, check out our blog on making the most out of your unwanted office furniture.
Install Recycling Bins!
Recycling furniture is a great start; however, office managers can take this a step further and encourage all employees to recycle their rubbish by including recycling bins in your office fit out or refurbishment designs. One simple way to encourage use of recycling bins within an office is to remove the general waste bins at each person’s desk, forcing an employee to walk to a bin making them more likely to think about which recycling bin is best to use.
Avoid Single Use Plastics
Global plastic usage has risen from 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to around 100 million tonnes today, with the plastic waste generated annually by the UK estimated to be around 5 million tonnes. The detrimental impacts of the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic thrown into the ocean each year and its damage to ocean ecosystems has been widely reported on, with numerous large companies responding by changing how they use plastics in their supply chains.
Whether its replacing plastic straws with paper straws or encouraging the use of reusable coffee cups, there are many ways we can cut down on our plastic usage, incorporating multiple water coolers within your office fit out or refurbishment is one way to prevent the unnecessary waste generated by single use plastic water bottles. Providing cutlery, mugs, glasses and encouraging employees to bring their lunch in reusable containers are all small changes which can drastically reduce the amount of unnecessary waste generated over time.
Use Sustainable Materials
Many desks and cupboards are made using wood therefore you should consider looking for certification which ensures any wood has been sourced from responsibly managed forests. We endeavour to source products from environmentally conscious suppliers, with the best office furniture suppliers ensuring that wood used in office furniture products are sustainably sourced.
Another way to reduce the impact on the environment and improve employee wellbeing is by choosing paint which contains a low amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), therefore improving air quality within an office. VOCs are the gases emitted by certain chemicals, solids and liquids which impact adversely on the environment and a person’s health. Over time high VOC paint will emit gasses which have been linked with numerous illnesses such as asthma, nausea, headaches and even liver damage in professional painters.
LED Lighting has become the standard choice of lighting in office environments throughout recent years. If your office still relies on old incandescent or halogen light bulbs, incorporating LED lighting into your office fit out or office refurbishment could reduce energy consumption by as much as 75%. Swapping out your old halogen bulbs and replacing them with LED lighting can potentially deliver up to a 90% cost saving in some larger commercial buildings. It’s possible to take your energy and cost savings one step further through Installing light sensors which automatically switch lights on or off depending whether a space is being used.