3 Sustainability Hacks to Give Your Office a Green Makeover

The average American office employee uses an estimated 10,000 sheets of paper each year. Depending on the size of your company and how many team members you employ, this number multiplies dramatically. To make matters worse, about one-third of this paper goes unrecycled, ending up in landfills instead. Combined with excessive energy use and other common wasteful habits around the office, the long-term impact your company has on the environment can really add up.

The good news? You can make easy, small changes within your office and across your overall company culture that will reduce your carbon footprint. In honor of Earth Day, help us celebrate through committing to give your office the ultimate green makeover. A few of our favorite hacks are listed below.

Digitize and go paperless

Turn your office into a completely paperless ecosystem. Rather than printing and using paper documents, utilize digital versions. A paperless workflow should include shifting to digital contracts, invoices and reporting with your clients and vendors. Switch to digital subscriptions for any newspapers, magazines or other materials your office receives and opt for paperless billing across the board. Instead of relying on paper agendas for meetings, use a projector, laptop or another digital screen. Going paperless will even reduce expenses. Say goodbye to spending on storage containers, ink, paper, envelopes and other office supplies. In order to transition to a paperless office, it’s key to digitize and shred your current paper files as much as possible.

The ScanSnap iX1500 is a powerful scanning tool perfect for any office, with features like OCR (optical character recognition) that allow you to add keywords to documents and build a searchable digital filing system. For remote employees or on-the-go scanning, our iX100 is another excellent solution. Perhaps the most important step in going paperless is backing up your files with a trusted cloud service. The full ScanSnap line supports cloud-based organization with partners such as Google Drive, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, Evernote, and others.

Take a closer look at your energy usage and emissions

Each commute to the office causes an increase in harmful emissions for every employee on your team. This impact may seem small day-to-day, but the long-term effects are anything but. Depending on the location and region of your office, consider offering your employees incentives to choose public transportation or opt for a carpool. This can be as simple as reimbursing the cost of a metro pass, or as generous as offering bonuses to team members who carpool.

Around the office itself, examine each area where you can reduce energy usage. This includes turning off kitchen appliances, computer, printers, monitors and any other electronics when not in use. Don’t forget to unplug chargers. Consider your office thermostat, as well. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats to 68°F in the winter and 78°F in the summer to save energy (and reduce costs).

Choose sustainable vendors and partners

When choosing a new vendor or partner - large or small - take any sustainable practices (or lack thereof) into account. Do they hold themselves to the same green standards that your team does? Do they produce products responsibly and support sustainable manufacturing? As a company or as a consumer, it’s key to remember the tremendous influence your buying power holds.

When purchasing supplies, go green whenever possible. This could be as simple as opting for recycled paper products in office bathrooms. If it’s time to upgrade technology around your office, review the energy ratings of the brands and products you’re considering before making a decision. Remember, even the smallest amount of energy reduction adds up, especially within a business.

What other hacks help you conserve energy, reduce paper or go green at the office?