Creating a sustainable and greener workplace
PaperCut cares about the environment. You’ve probably figured it out with all the trees dotted around the website. The thing is, it’s more than just a gimmick or something we ‘should’ do. We really do care.
We’re not only passionate about giving our users a product that encourages enviro-friendly behaviour, we also want to live and breathe green while in the workplace.
If you’re keen to change the way things are done in your office, here’s a handy wee guide to get you started.
Manage and reduce your printing
We focus on giving our users a boost in the way they manage their printing, so this part shouldn’t come as a surprise!
According to Planet Ark, printing accounts for 2.4 tonnes of paper waste per year in Australia alone. Reducing waste is an obvious priority.
One of the drivers behind our product development is helping businesses reduce their printing without affecting their operations. This is how it works (check out the tour for an in-depth overview):
- Full transparency – See who prints and when. No surprises.
- Printing policies – Make your own rules. Encourage double-sided printing, bring in sensible printing policies, and create your own custom scripts.
- Track costs – You can see who is hogging the printing budget by creating print accounts. Add quotas, give user balances, or create an in-house payment system.
I understand that if you work in an office, printing is part of the furniture. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just all that unnecessary paper waste that makes us a little teary. Even if you don’t opt for one of our products (shock horror!), you can still make a difference:
- Think before you print – It’s the basic questions: do I really need a paper copy of that? Can I read it on my computer or tablet?
- Use thinner paper – Basic printer paper is just too thick. You don’t need it. Something between 70 and 80 gsm should work fine and not affect performance.
- Recycle your cartridges – They’re finicky little things, but you should try your best to recycle them (or better yet, reuse them!). A recent survey showed that 45% of people throw cartridges away. Don’t be one of those people.
Change your office approach to being green
Office green initiatives are great and everything, but they rarely work. Research has shown that someone can be a bonafide tree hugger at home, and Mother Earth’s worst enemy when at the office. There are several reasons for this, such as a lack of financial repercussions and not really feeling personally responsible (it’s not your waste).
The solution? Change your office culture. Here’s how you do it:
- Tweak your mission statement – Does your mission statement lack mention of values, doing the right thing, and/or upholding social values (e.g. taking care of our environment!). If so, tweak it if you can.
- Create a role/committee – Don’t annoy your employees by simply tacking on the environmental role on top of everything else. Create a joint committee or make it part of the job description for an individual on your team. Let them own it. At PaperCut we set up the Environmental Guild, which looks at initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Provide training – Some people just don’t know the degree to which office behaviour can impact the environment. Teach them. Set up regular training sessions. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Just 5 minutes before your monthly meeting can be enough to make a real difference.
- Fun challenges – People thrive on challenges and games. Add an environmental twist, such as a small team prize for ditching plastic eating utensils, for example.
- Lead by example – The office culture is shaped by those who sit atop the hierarchical tree. You must lead by example and show your team that you really care about the environment.
- Invest in green products – It’s easy to always put price first, but there are some great environmentally friendly products that won’t cost you much more than your average cheap and cheerful. We’re talking green cleaning products, investing in recycling boxes, and opting for products made with post-consumer content.
It’s easy to think, “It’s too hard – what impact can I possibly have?” But it’s very much a case of every little bit counts. So start counting!
And please do let me know your other tips in the comments below.
About Becca Mayer
SMALL(ISH) PRINT: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to PaperCut.