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Are you a small business owner who loves working from home and is looking to create a sustainable home office? We got you covered with these few simple tips & eco ideas!
These days, we’re all searching for more ways to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize our daily impact on the environment in hopes of increasing the planet’s lifespan for future generations. And while an eco-friendly office space might seem a bit far off, there are several effective ways that you can transform your home office into a pretty sustainable place that has little to no negative impact on the environment.
And if you aren’t too sure where to start, we’ve listed five straightforward ways to create a sustainable home office. And doing so will benefit the planet, your health, and your financial wellbeing all at the same time.
1. Use Multifunctional Office Equipment
When it comes to choosing a printer, color laser printers are more than suitable investments for quality, fast prints. These printers are also somewhat more sustainable than the regular inkjet printer, which uses a ton of ink that can end up costing you a small fortune.
By opting for all-in-one color laser printers, you’ll also be adding sustainability to your office space, as you’ll be using fewer devices in total and use less amount of cartridges. Notice that these actually add a lot of waste to the environment, therefore we highly recommend you looking up an ink cartridges recycling program sometimes you can find brands they are running one for free!
By recycling your ink cartridges, for example, the program of CartridgesDirect ensures that for every 100,000 ink cartridges that are recycled contribute to collectively cleansing the earth of 40 tons of reusable plastic, 1 million litres of wasted oil, 9,569 kgs or reusable aluminium and 862 million kgs of Co2 emissions. So yes, printers are a big think to keep in mind if you want to run a sustainable home office.
2. Reduce Paper Usage
Even though you might not be able to get around having to use paper to carry out some of your work-related tasks, you can always reduce the amount of paper you use in general. Just because you can’t completely cut out usage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can to use less paper daily.
One great area to reduce your paper is by choosing to print fewer documents, and digitalise areas of your business such the accounting and financial-related work, and instead, keep it all organised in your folders and make a safe copy on your external disc or cloud. At the end of the day, it is way easier to manage rather than accumulating piles of paperwork that will probably be looked up again once archived. The pro tip is to only print what you need to deliberately work on if you are the type of person who likes to add some follow up notes or guides you will check up on an ongoing basis.
Moreover, you could even consider using hemp paper as an eco-friendly alternative. Hemp is far more sustainable than regular paper as hemp plants grow substantially faster, farming requires less space, and new paper can be harvested in significantly short lengths of time. That said, the quality is suitable, and it’s also pretty affordable.
Another area in which you can save paper (and money!) is by having digital business cards. Overall, we can save 10 billion business cards a year, which equals 120,000 trees per year. This is the amount of waste we generate with just paper cards. For a digital alternative, you can use Squiqr. Their platform is meant for those who are savvy, eco-conscious professionals who can make the switch from the old school, outdated, wasteful business cards to digital ones. No more typing in names, numbers and all that jazz.
3. Be Energy-Efficient
Switching to energy-efficient light-bulbs, not keeping your laptop turned on and plugged in at all times, and lowering the settings on your heating or cooling unit are all effective ways to reduce the energy consumption of your office space.
If you want to take energy efficiency to the next level, you can adapt to make your office area or by default, your entire home, insulated to avoid spending so much on energy. If you can only insulate the bare minimum, then seal your windows. Further down the line, considering installing some solar panels and make the switch to solar energy.
To keep your electricity costs down, introduce as much natural light as possible – this is great not only for the environment but is also much better for your health.
4. Eco-friendly stationery
From major multinationals to micro-businesses, any company should be thinking of buying eco-friendly products. For obvious reasons, eco-friendly stationery is better for the environment, and also it will get you supporting some amazing brands that are on a mission to make office spaces greener.
From the toxic chemicals used in prints, reducing the amount of plastic, promoting recycled paper and ensuring a certain recyclability rate compared to traditional stationery. Furthermore, these brands usually come with a mission that’s beyond “saving the planet”. For example, GreenBuying is completely focused on providing everything eco, from energy to stationery, and also works hard to keep everything UK-manufactured (supporting the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint of transportation).
Other brands worth looking at are Decomposition Book bringing a range of notebooks made with 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper. This means every square inch of every sheet in their books, cards and gift wrap is paper that was used and discarded, then saved from the waste stream to be processed into new paper. Your purchase of products made with PCW-recycled paper supports an industry that has saved untold thousands of acres of forest, prevented the release of millions of additional tons of CO2, and helped preserve the habitat of all the creatures that call those forests home. Since the brand started, their use of 100% PCW-recycled paper has saved the equivalent of nearly 40,000 trees, over sixteen million gallons of wastewater and thousands of tons of CO2 and solid waste. In case you thought your little notebooks can’t make a difference?!
Another great brand is La Juniper, an ethical and eco-conscious gift shop where you’ll find a collection of kitchenware, home decor, textiles and of course, eco-stationery. Here products are carefully chosen not only for their usefulness and beauty, but also for their provenance. They are proud to support British designers and makers, while also support ethical craftsmanship from further afield.
Write the World notebooks is a great social enterprise that supports causes to tackle global poverty. Their beautifully designed notebooks can be purchased online from 242 countries. With the purchase of just one Write the World notebook for only AUD$10 you can support their mission: the brand’s aiming is to sell 100,000 notebooks by 2040 and raise $1 million for effective charities in the process.
If you are after really stylish and purposeful stationery, then look up the brand Rue Rangoli, which has created a circular economic business model turning used products into wealth while training craftsmen and designers from fragile or excluded backgrounds to bring out their creativity allowing them to live off their talent. The range of products goes as far as your imagination, using innovative materials such as tyre tubes, newspapers, felt and even elephant dung! Promise it doesn’t smell, in fact, it’s considered one of the favourites in the upcycled zero waste range.
5. Furnish Sustainably
Instead of furnishing your office space with ugly, harmful and wasteful plastic creations, opt for sustainable materials that don’t negatively impact the planet to sit around in your home office space and make the place look a bit nicer.
Where to start with? Firstly, ensure make the most of your small spaces take some tips on how to maximise your spaces. Then opt for preferably repurposing olf furniture, or at the very least choose sustainable materials that will add a natural look and style to your office. Some great alternatives are bamboo, natural stones, cork, reclaimed wood, anything refurbished, recycled aluminum, and glass.
Of course, you can always support purposeful and handcrafted decoration brands like Dounia or Kilim. On the other hand, ethically + eco-friendly furniture brands like Simbly; this brand is ethical, FSC-certified and environmentally sustainable created with good old American manufacturing. Well-designed with Swiss mechanisms, and at accessible prices.
Finally, if you have to paint your space and decorate from scratch, then consider non-toxic paints like the ones that Eicó carries in its range.
6. Decorate with Nature
Adding nature to your office space is a great approach to enhance sustainability. As a general standard, we should all be striving to keep nature alive, and in doing so, bringing nature, is a practical approach for most of us, especially those who don’t have a yard.
Decorating with nature will also bring about a few great benefits for you. Just a few of these will include boosted productivity, filtered indoor air, decreased sickness, minimized stress, and even noise reduction. Nature provides so many attractive health benefits, and there’s no reason not to want to keep them in your home.
Some of the best air purifying indoor plants are:
- English Ivy
- Maidenhair Fern
- Golden Pothos
- Rubber Plant
- Lady Palm
- Boston Fern
- Spider Plant
- Aloe Vera
- Flamingo Uly
- Areca Palm
- Snake Plant
- Dragon Tree
Transforming your home office to a more sustainable space is an excellent idea that will provide a ton of great benefits. And while the effort shouldn’t cost you too much, you should also continue transforming other areas of your home for a more sustainable way of life.