Sustainable living

Reduce, reuse, recycle – revitalised! Revamp your office recycling habits for the New Year.

This blog post began as a wandering thought before the Christmas break. Its importance and relevance has sadly grown tenfold with the world watching Australia, heartbroken.

We’re all guilty of occasionally forgetting the shopping bags or tossing a take-away coffee cup without a second thought. A little makes a lot of difference when everyone in the world’s little choices are added together.

Recycling is something that, quite often, only takes place in the kitchen. The rubbish in your bedroom or bathroom apparently doesn’t count in the struggle to keep the earth breathing. We have been making conscious efforts in the office to decipher the various recycling icons on packaging and taking steps towards a more sustainable workplace.

Turning to print, trends are quickly being picked up by major companies and we hope the masses will lead their charge. Electric Ireland is paving the way with their Brighter Every Day campaign. As well as educating the general population on small choices that make for big changes, they are printing some of their marketing material on revolutionary plant-able seed paper.

This biodegradable eco-paper is made with recycled materials and then embedded with seeds. When the paper is planted in a pot of soil, the seeds grow and the paper composts away.

While we don’t print on seed paper (yet!) we are offering our eco-conscious clients the opportunity to print on FSC approved recycled paper.

Our office is slightly too busy to set up a paper making division! But we have had time to compile a short list of tips for a more sustainable office.

1. Don’t be trashy

While we all know that recycling is a good thing, lots of us are still slightly confused as to exactly what can go in which bin. As part of the design team in Think Media, I will always lobby for pictures over words! So stick a helpful poster over your bin explaining that various do’s and don’ts. We like these ones from My Waste  which say that if everyone in the office recycled just one more piece of plastic every week, we could recycle 250 million more pieces of plastic every year.

2. Don’t leave the immersion on! (Or the lights)

While it seems like common sense to turn off the lights when you leave a room, it turns out many people like to leave their common sense in said room! If you want to rise to genius level, you could consider changing all your bulbs to LED light bulbs. Electric Ireland estimates that if 1.1 million people changed just one bulb, the annual CO2 emissions saved would be equivalent to taking 14,000 petrol cars off the road.

3. Are you afraid of the dark?

If remembering to switch off lights is difficult for some, turning computers off must seem an insurmountable challenge. A computer that is on for eight hours a day uses almost 600kWh and emits 175kg of CO2 per year. In stand-by mode, the consumption is about a third of the that, meaning that the two minutes you save by leaving the office before turning your computer off, costs the earth an extra 58 unnecessary kg of CO2 per year.

4. Underdogs

Support local business. Recently we have left the bigger players and began using small local companies, Office Supplies Ireland being one of them. Looking past the more personable communications, ordering your supplies locally cuts down on air miles, in turn cutting down on CO2 emissions.

5. Please don’t die

I am admittedly a demon for forgetting to water my plants, I tend to opt for the ever popular drown them once a month approach. My office plant is good to me regardless; it reduces the office’s carbon emissions as well as naturally purifying the air. Note to self – keep plant alive.