Sustainability in the office – office supplies, going digital, and edible rice straws
Sometimes people say, “It’s the little things that count”. That’s not always true when it comes to sustainability, because if you want to make an impact, you want to start (and stick) with the big things. However, in a place like an office, where supplies are consumed steadily, the little things do add up. So if you’ve been providing plastic straws to your staff, you might want to switch to edible rice straws instead. And here are some other tips for turning your office into a sustainable, Earth-friendly space.
We’ve listed these tips from an employer’s standpoint because the power is in their hands and they can do a lot more than employees can on their own, but if you’re an employee who wants to contribute to a greener workplace, you might find some of these tips helpful as well. Just think outside the box a little.
Tips for making your office space more sustainable
There are lots of ways to become more eco-friendly. Everything from reducing resource use and emissions, to switching to green energy sources or working on long-term goals – with some help from your employees! Here are some of our best tips for going green at the office.
If you still keep your documents as hard copies, the biggest change you can make to go green is to digitize all your files. Your paper use will do down drastically, saving trees from being cut down. We wrote about the environmental impact of paper in a recent blog post – you’d be surprised to learn just how large an impact it has! We should all be doing our part to cut back on our paper use.
2.Recycle all your paper
When you make the leap, you’ll be left with a big heap of papers that has no use. Instead of sending it all to the landfill, prepare them for recycling. Usually, that just involves removing any soiled papers, clips and other unrecyclable materials, and putting the papers into the recycling bin. You’ll be done within half an hour at the most. All that paper can be recycled and turned into fresh paper that can be put to good use where it’s necessary.
3.Use renewable energy
Renewable energy resources are sources that aren’t finite, and won’t run out (like coal or natural gas, for example). Solar energy is generally the most practical for households and businesses, and it’s a great idea to make the switch because it’ll reduce your carbon footprint, and save you money in the long term. After the initial setup cost, you won’t have to incur any expenses for your electricity use, and the funds can go into expanding and optimizing your business.
4.Use edible rice straws
Stock up on our edible rice straws, so your office staff can enjoy a nice, hot coffee as they work without having to worry about creating plastic waste. Our straws are completely eco-friendly, and will biodegrade within a month of being thrown out. They’ll never harm any marine animals. If you have the facilities, you can also consider reusable straws, but ours are a better option because you don’t have to worry about cleaning and drying them, which can be a hassle.
5.Recycle your trash
In an ideal world, you’d be throwing out nothing. You’d create minimal waste, and reuse, donate or recycle the trash that is created. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, so we have to do the best we can. Find out what your county recycles, and make sure you put out those things for recycling instead of throwing them in the trash. Sending things for recycling requires a little extra effort, but the few extra minutes you’ll spend on it will go a long way towards helping our planet.
6.Give out reusable cups and bottles
Gift reusables to your staff, and encourage them to use them. So, for example, instead of getting takeout in disposable containers, encourage them to bring a healthy lunch or salad from home. Instead of using disposable water bottles or cups, give them bottles that they can wash and reuse for years. To further discourage the use of disposables, stop stocking them at the office.
7.Stock reusable pens and refills
While you should try your best to go paperless, if the nature of your work requires paper use, you can still do some things to help. For one, instead of using normal pens, use ones that can be refilled. Fountain pens are great since they create no plastic waste at all, but you can also keep some ballpoint pens so your staff have options. A lot of these can be refilled in a couple seconds. That’ll reduce your plastic waste by a fair bit, depending on how much writing is done by hand.
8.Use recycled paper
We’ve already suggested that you recycle your paper, but another thing that you can (and should) do to help is to use recycled paper. If there’s no demand for recycled paper, the government will be unable to recycle it, because there’s no point in spending resources in recycling only to let the paper sit unused. So, try and buy recycled paper for office use – it’s surprisingly easy to find! You can buy them in bulk online, or at most office supply stores.
9.Get locally sourced wood
If you ever need to move or expand, you’ll need to build some furniture – chairs, desks, storage, all that stuff. Make sure you use locally sourced, fast growing wood for your new furniture. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but it’s a lot more sustainable as well, because less emissions were created in getting the wood to you (than, say, if it came from a thousand miles away). Using fast-growing wood is more sustainable, because it uses fewer resources.
10.Get your employees involved
Talking to your employees about going green is not just a good idea – it’s actually very important, if you want their whole-hearted participation. Educate them about the need to be eco-friendly, and tell them why you’re taking the steps you are. Open the floor to questions and suggestions. Who knows – you may have an environmentalist on board who can come up with some really good ideas!
These were some of our best tips for making your office more sustainable. A lot of articles on similar subjects suggest keeping plants in your office, but we don’t think that’s very helpful. Unless you have a large property and can actually plant full-size trees, that is. Indoor plants produce very little oxygen, and the lack of sunlight and increased CO2 levels indoors may stress the plant out and make it produce more CO2 than normal.
Buy edible rice straws from Flewid Friendly
Our edible straws aren’t just eco-friendly, they’re better than other eco-friendly straws (like metal, glass, bamboo etc.) because they’re more convenient. These straws aren’t reusable, which frees you of the need to wash and dry them – which can be rather tedious. Plus, if you’re having a party and want to provide eco-friendly straws, these are perfect. Buying enough metal or glass straws for a party isn’t practical, but you could easily buy a couple packs of these without running up a big bill.
Our straws are made of rice flour and cassava flour, and they leave behind no taste in your drink. They’re unflavored and sugar-free, so they’re safe for your pets and other critters. Our ocean-friendly edible straws can be used in both hot and cold drinks, and they’ll last long enough without getting soft (unlike paper straws).
Once you’re done using these straws, you can cook and eat them, which means you get two uses out of one product. These straws are safe for pregnant women, children and all kinds of pets that can eat pasta – this includes dogs, cats, rabbits and most birds. If you don’t want to eat them or give them to your pet, you can feed the local birds. Or you can forget about cooking them and just throw them away. They’ll decompose in under a month, and cause no harm to our environment.
We plant a tree for every pack of edible rice straws you purchase
If you really want to do more for the environment but can’t think of anything, here’s some good news – we’ll help you help by proxy! For every product you purchase from us, we plant a tree through Seed The Change. So you can contribute towards making the Earth greener just by changing your consumption habits ever so slightly.
You don’t have to pay anything extra for it – just the usual price. In fact, we often have discounts up on our website, so bookmark the page and check back regularly for discounts. You can get 10% off just by signing up to our newsletter.