Workplace Sustainability: 7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
If your company doesn’t celebrate Earth Day, why not make this the year you start? Your employees (and Mother Earth) will love you for it—and we’ve lined up some engaging green office ideas to make it easy and fun.
Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22 to raise awareness about environmental issues and encourage people to protect the planet. Many of your employees undoubtedly care deeply about this issue and will embrace your sustainability initiatives in the workplace.
Although the U.S. makes up just 4% of the world’s population, we produce 12% of the planet’s waste. Creating an eco-friendly workspace is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for business. When companies pursue office sustainability ideas, they save money, elevate their brand, and facilitate employee engagement.
Now, April 22 falls on a Saturday this year, so most companies are holding their Earth Day festivities on Friday, April 21. Regardless of when you celebrate, consider these seven office sustainability ideas you may want to repurpose as your own.
1. Hold “Ditch-the-Emails” Hour to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Emails are more planet-friendly than paper, but they still generate a carbon footprint. Cloud storage uses electricity, which is still largely powered by fossil fuels—but every email you delete reduces carbon emissions.
Consider reserving one hour out of the day for a group email purge. Remind everyone to unsubscribe from all those unread newsletters, too. Make it a contest and see who ditches the most digital junk!
2. Host a Waste Management Lunch-n-Learn
Every company has a few staunch environmentalists in its ranks. Why not ask yours to make a presentation on a topic they’re passionate about? Chances are, many employees would be interested in learning how to set up a compost bin or maintain a healthy, chemical-free lawn. No volunteers? Ask your local library or garden club to help you find a speaker.
3. Brainstorm Office Sustainability Ideas
One of the best ways to get people to buy into a company-sponsored green initiative is to have them lead the charge—and that starts with an open brainstorming session.
Before the meeting, ask employees to consider ways to reduce office energy usage and minimize waste, whether upgrading to energy-efficient lighting or placing small recycling bins at every workstation.
4. Declare “Green Your Ride” Day
Chances are, many of your employees drive to work (unless, of course, your workforce is remote—already an eco-friendly move). Challenge them to sample a more sustainable commuting method: carpooling, public transportation, or biking to work. They may find it so gratifying, they change their commuting habits!
Another idea is to invite everyone to work remotely and shut the physical office down for the day, creating a temporary carbon footprint reduction.
5. Throw a Sustainable Potluck Lunch
Many of us don’t think about how our food choices impact the environment. Throwing a sustainable potluck lunch is one way to change that. Stipulate that all dishes must be made from locally-grown ingredients (which cuts down on shipping, a smart waste management move) or organic foods (i.e., fewer chemicals). Whatever your employees prepare, it’s guaranteed to be one of your more interesting group lunches!
6. Host an Earth Day Trivia Contest
When was the first Earth Day held? What are two sources of renewal energy? Waste management wise, what’s our biggest trash culprit? Hosting an Earth Day trivia contest is an entertaining way to raise awareness—and you can award the winner with a reusable water bottle or lunch bag.
7. Petition the Boss for a Beehive
Maybe this one is a stretch, but it’s fun to consider! As you know, bees are critical for sustaining our ecosystem and food chain, but they’re losing their habitat at a horrifying rate.
One post-pandemic workplace trend—designed to coax workers back to the office—is adding a beehive or two (cared for by local beekeepers) to outdoor office spaces. Vegetable gardens and bird-feeding stations are popular, too. These not only create more eco-friendly workspaces, but get the entire workforce engaged and talking.
In conclusion, there are endless ways to hold a fun, meaningful Earth Day celebration that will excite your workforce and benefit the planet. But it’s only one day—which is why you’ll want to learn some ways to build a year-round eco-friendly workspace.
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