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By: Emily D|April 12, 2016

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The end of April brings with it Earth Day, a day in which we focus on the environmental and ecological impact of the things we do in our day lives. This year’s Earth Day falls on Friday, April 22, and offers a great opportunity to bring your workplace together in the name of a greener future.

The official Earth Day organization, Earth Day Network, is running their 2016 campaign around the theme of planting trees. They’re running programs all over the globe for groups of people looking to get involved in planting trees and encouraging sustainable ecology. Even if you can’t get out to plant a tree, however, there are still a lot of things you can do in the office to promote a greener workspace.

1. Cut Down On Paper Waste

In the digital age one of the most common green office tips is “go paperless!” However, there is one source of paper waste that many people don’t think about when they hear this. It’s not office memos or printed out emails, but actually paper towels. Americans use billions of paper towels every year, often without noticing. I myself am definitely guilty of this, and will pull off 2 or 3 sheets of paper towel every time I wash my hands. However, it is possible to dry your hands with just one sheet of paper towel, which can dramatically reduce paper waste.

2. Use Less Plastic

These days a lot of types of consumable plastic can be recycled, but even so Americans consume a lot of disposable plastic. According to Earth Day Network, 300 million tons of plastic are now produced each year. Reducing the use of plastic is an important step in creating a greener future, and there’s some easy ways to do it.

Invest in a water bottle or reusable tumbler to keep at your desk and refill, rather than using disposable cups or water bottles. You can also cut down on k-cup use by getting a reusable filter for the office. Bring snacks in reusable containers instead of in plastic baggies, or reuse baggies to cut down on waste. All of these little changes can go a long way to reducing the amount of plastic we produce.

3. Go Greener at Lunch!

No, I don’t mean drink more kale and spinach smoothies, though you’re welcome to that. But by bringing lunch from home in reusable containers, rather than getting take-out or grocery store food, you can dramatically reduce the amount of waste you’re producing. Invest in a couple good tupperware or microwavable containers, which you can pack the night before and just grab on your way out the door. This also has the benefit of promoting healthy eating and saving you money in the long run!

4. Recycle Electronic Waste

Most of use are swimming in outdated or obsolete technology these days. However, throwing away old computer parts or accessories can put a huge strain on the environment. Many people don’t know that things like old cellphones, tablets, computer hardware, printers and scanners can actually be recycled. Special recycling stations exist which allow you to dispose of recyclable electronic waste safely.

Locate a site near you, and get ride of that outdated technology you’ve got stashed in the closet.

5. Bonded Team, Going Green

5 Tips for a Greener Office– Recycled materials dressUse the excuse of Earth Day to bring your team together for a fun, eco-friend TeamBonding experience.

Inspired by a challenge on the popular TV show, TeamBonding’s program Corporate Project Runway uses disposable materials to create amazing fashion. Imagine small teams designing, sketching and creating their very own clothing lines, all assembled from a wild assortment of recyclable materials. A weird and wonderful runway fashion show, complete with marketing pitches by each team, provides the big finish.

Check out the program page for Corporate Project Runway to learn more about how this program can bring your office together in the name of a brighter and less wasteful future.

header image by Matt Gibson

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