How to initiate the Green Office Program?
Understanding your office
The preliminary step towards greening your office is to firstly understand your office by referring to the checklist (Appendix A). The checklist is to know your basis, such as scope area, number of people and current office management practices where you are going to implement your environmental policies and targets. This checklist is also to help you list your current environmental practices. This list can later be used as a basis to check whether the office will meet the environmental policy and targets hence determine what action plans to adopt.
Set Environmental Policy, Commitment, and Target
The first step for any office wanting to improve their environmental standing is to establish a written policy and commitment. This will help to set targets, develop programs, goals and monitor progress. All offices should have an environmental policy that is adopted, authorized and committed to by the top management. It will be difficult to maintain enthusiasm and channel the appropriate time and resources to greening the office without any support.
Put Someone in Charge
It may be beneficial to have someone in the office whose sole job is to set up carpooling or keep track of office recycling and energy use. The money spent on paying somebody to hold this position will be well worth it when you get your utility bill and save the planet.
Place switch-off light sign near light switches and doors.
Placing signage reminders and motivate staff to commit to eco-office practices.
Place water conservation signs near toilets and pantry.
Place eco-office poster at notice boards, pantry or canteen.
Place a catchy slogan with attention attracting image near personal computers to remind staff to the eco-office commitment and staff's role
The office is encouraged to come with other in-house initiatives (s).
Tips on How to Achieve Green Office Certification
A. Purchasing Office Equipment & Stationery- Green Principles
Key issues to consider when purchasing. Greening your office challenges you to think about whether your organization's "needs" can be met in different ways.
Can we lease, share or swap instead of purchasing?
Does the product have an environmental, energy rating or water rating label?
Does the product have energy-saving features or a "sleep" mode for when it is not being used?
Does the supplier have good environmental credentials?
Is upgrading, reconditioning or extending the useful life of our current model a better option?
How long will this particular product last?
Will it be easily repaired or upgraded?
Are we paying for features we don't need and won't use?
How much energy or materials will it use?
Does the product contain recycled materials?
Can this product be recycled, sold or donated when we've finished with it?
Does it come with too much packaging?
It's much better to buy products that are locally made or assembled to reduce transport
B. Waste Management
i) Stationery, paper use, faxing and printing:
Set up paper reuse trays for the collection of paper that has only been used on one side. Always reuse paper that has been printed on one side for note-taking, printing drafts or message-taking, etc.
Create a space on your website for publications so that reports and documents can be downloaded and viewed on-screen.
Compile an email listing to distribute e-versions of your reports or seasonal greetings.
Use the revision/changes marking function available in most word processing software.
Use notice boards and/or emails for official announcements, updates and meeting minutes.
Reuse envelopes whenever possible, especially for sending information internally.
Do not use fax cover sheets when faxing.
ii) Mass mail and brochures:
When receiving unwanted junk mail from a mailing list of a predecessor who has left the company, take a proactive measure to inform the sender to stop sending or remove his/her name from the mailing list.
Similarly, when sending out reports or brochures, it is advisable to check if the recipient has an interest in receiving such material. Use email or mail a postcard first to check if recipients are interested in receiving your reports and materials.
iii) For pantry and mealtime:
Avoid packaging, buy in bulk. Choose products with minimal packaging, including bulk coffee, cream, and sugar rather than individually portioned packages.
When buying back lunch, try not to ask for a plastic bag.
Avoid using disposable utensils and cups in the office.
Use reusable containers when buying back meals – bring your own containers or your office may provide these containers.
Engage the services of a recycling contractor and provide recycling bins.
Place recycling bins for what your office can recycle in areas where they are normally used and thrown away.
Remind staff frequently about your office's recycling scheme.
iv) Paper and boxes:
Place recycling bins around the office. To make recycling easier, provide staff with personal boxes and place larger boxes in areas where there is higher paper waste like near printers and photocopiers.
To increase recycling efficiency, the office could eliminate personal waste bins and only maintain centralized bins for general waste as well as recycle bins.
Always load paper printed only on one side into printers and photocopiers trays.
Designate an area of your office that can be used to store over-sized boxes for collection by your recycling contractor.
Even confidential paper waste can be recycled. Ask your contractor if they provide shredding services or invest in a paper shredder for your office.
Give preference to equipment capable of using unbleached paper with up to 100% post-consumer recycled content.
Purchase photocopiers and printers that have double-siding functions, energy-saving mode, and recyclable cartridge. If the current photocopiers and printers are not able to perform double-sided printing, load paper which has been used on one side.
Use one multipurpose machine for photocopying, printing and faxing, this will decrease their idle time, reduce standby energy and provide for more cost-effective use of the equipment.
Default printer settings to automatically print double-sided if your office printers have the facility.
Set printer to energy-saving mode to enable automatic energy saving when the printer is idle for 10-15 minutes.