Sure, it’s not as big of a celebration as New Year’s or Thanksgiving, but Earth Day sure should be! We spend every day navigating across the earth’s ample lands and taking advantage of its resources. That means that planet Earth is more than due a little birthday cake and TLC. Here are some great ways you and your colleagues can do up Earth Day right this April 22nd.
1. Plant a Tree — or Several
Trees don’t just look great: they pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and are therefore essential for combating global warming. Plant a tree — or two or three or four — outside of your office to play your part. Pick a tree that will grow fast, last a long time, and will shade your office to cut down on summertime heating bills. Soon, you’ll feel like you’re working inside a forest.
And don’t forget: greenery provides just as many benefits inside the office and can make the place that much more homey. So start planting those plants!
2. Improve Your Office Air Quality
Whether it’s furniture made from or painted with toxic materials or air filters that haven’t been changed since the late 80s, the air you breathe at work may not be as fresh as those innovative ideas you’re known for. On Earth Day, make a group effort to change the filters, or come up with a plan to present to the boss on slowly switching out old furniture with more eco-friendly options, like chairs made from bamboo.
3. Switch to Eco-Lighting
Office lighting bills can be astronomical, and they don’t just put a dent in the company bottom line: all of that light is often powered by non-green energy sources, and thus contributes to pollution and global warming. This Earth Day, swap out those old energy-intensive incandescent bulbs for their more energy efficient equivalents, or switch over entirely to LED lighting, or compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs).
4. Combat Vampire Power
Even when you’re not using that desktop or lamp, the outlet is still providing energy to it, regardless of whether or not it’s on or off. To combat vampire power, ensure every electronic device is set to switch off on a timer. Talk as an office about unplugging power strips when you leave for the day. If you really want to get into it, assign a monitor to double check outlets before the office closes up for the day.
5. Replace Bottled Water With Filters
Bottled water on the company dime may seem like a can’t-lose perk, but all of that plastic is energy- and resource-intensive both to produce and to recycle, and a lot of it winds up in our oceans. Rather than going with the bottle, switch the office over to water filters, either over the tap or in the fridge, or provide larger coolers of water.
6. Arrange an Office Carpool
One great way to celebrate Earth Day: arrange a carpooling service to the office for the day. Who knows? If it turns out to be convenient, it just might stick — and then you won’t have quite so many single passenger cars on the road every day. For those who would rather use public transport, provide incentives for a bus or metro pass.
7. Go Local in the Cafeteria
You may know that you have a cafeteria, but do you know where that food comes from? This Earth Day, lobby the powers that be to switch to local sources. You’ll be doing a good for local produce providers, and you’ll cut down on carbon shipping emissions as you go. You and your colleagues can start small by bringing in your own local lunches.
8. Make an Office Food Garden
Don’t stop with planting trees: why not start a community garden? You can supply your cafeteria, or even a local school. Gardening could be a great lunchtime past time, and you’ll have a great new feature to show off to any clients that stop by.
9. Convert to a Paperless Office
Why print that memo or presentation? We’ve got all the tools we need to retire that office printer for good. Of course, you’ll want to keep it around for emergencies, but this Earth Day, get your team together to agree to a low-paper edict.
10. Start an Office Recycling Program
If you don’t already have an office recycling program, now is a great time to start one. Look into your local recycling pickup programs, talk with the janitorial staff about pickup, get recycling bins in place, and start educating your colleagues on just what can be recycled when.
There are plenty more ways to celebrate Earth Day. Why you’re at it, why not install solar panels and wind turbines? Why not! How will you be celebrating? Let us know in the blog comments.