April 22 marks the 48th anniversary of Earth Day, a holiday created to inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment. A general increase in environmental knowledge combined with the effects of climate change have pushed many communities to begin taking positive steps towards reducing their footprint and living sustainably. While this is true, it can be easy to leave your eco-hat at home and forget that acting sustainably is important wherever you are- especially in the workplace.
As a member of Team TMG, I’m very proud of what we do at The Moak Group to protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. Here are some suggestions for how you and your office can take steps toward launching environmentally-friendly initiatives that everyone in the office can get behind.
Make Recycling Easy
A few months ago, some members of the team and I were eating a lunch that contained quite a few carry-out containers. While many DC restaurants make an effort to use recyclable materials, it’s important that they are disposed of properly. When we went to throw out our waste in the conference room, I was surprised to see that although there were two bins, they both had recycling labels, and one was filled with trash. We did some investigating and realized that a few places in the office did not have the proper bins to throw both trash and recyclables away. I contacted our office manager and worked with her as well as our building staff to ensure that both recycling and trash bins are placed prominently through the office, making recycling easy.
I followed this up with an email to all of Team TMG to inform them of the change, and the new expectation that we would properly recycle from this point on. Attached to the email was information on recycling in DC, as recycling bins are useless if not used correctly and in-line with city-specific rules. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for non-recyclers, and while it’s gotten me cred as the “office queen of recycling” (my last name is Greene, so it works), our office has taken an incredible turn for the green(e).
As mentioned above, the best way to ensure an environmentally friendly office is to make it easy. That’s why every room in the TMG office has motion-censored lights that turn off after five minutes of inactivity. Rather than relying on employees and guests to remember to flip the switch, lights in offices with no movement automatically turn off. This system also provides the entertainment of watching staffers wave their hands around in pitch black offices after working motionlessly for too long.
Did you know that the U.S. wastes $2.8 billion and 20 tons of CO2 per year due to work computers being left on after business hours? At the end of the workday, it is ingrained in TMG’s culture to unplug our laptops from our monitors to shut them off and conserve energy.
I’ll never forget the office tour I got of TMG on my first day. When we got around to the printer, I was informed that it was functional, but used as little as possible, since almost all office business is conducted online and without the need for much paper waste. As a result of this, we are close to being an entirely paperless office, which saves trees, reduces our emission of greenhouse gasses, and reduces fuel consumption. Our fingers, file cabinets, and planet thanks us.
No Plastic Straws. Period.
Do you know that over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used every DAY in the United States? That’s enough to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or fill Yankee Stadium over nine times (and that’s just in the U.S.). These straws filter into landfills and litter our waterways and oceans. At TMG, we have plenty of glasses and a dishwasher at the office, meaning there is no need for plastic waste in the form of disposable cups, and worst of all, plastic straws.