Are you interested in making your business more eco-friendly? Then why not make your workplace a little greener? A good place to start is by creating a green team within your workplace!
So, what exactly is a green team? A green team is a group of employees whose combined goal is to educate, empower and inspire colleagues to establish and promote environmentally sustainable practices within their organisation. Establishing a “green team” in an organisation is an inspiring way for companies to motivate employees and shift their strategies towards a more sustainable path, which is becoming increasingly important. In a time where both young professionals and experienced employees wish to find more meaning in their work, encouraging employees to create green teams, and work together to find new ideas in eliminating waste, creating improved designs and finding new efficiencies can be hugely beneficial, not only to our planet, but can also have a positive impact on employees and the organisation.
So how to go about making a green team in your place? We have some ideas we use here at Stroodles HQ that are really easy to implement! Keep on reading to find out more!
1. Start Small
If you’re starting a green team at work the first thing we’d suggest is starting small!
Some ideas to get you started:
2. Recycle cans, bottles, newspapers, and magazines.
Let’s be honest, it’s 2021 and it’s likely that no matter what size of business you work in, your office has some kind of recycling scheme in place. So, get educated on what you can and can’t recycle, and the best way to dispose of your rubbish, and then encourage others in your office to do the same!
Even better, if at all possible, why not attempt to go paperless? Nowadays, you really don’t need to print much. If your office tends to use a lot of paper for unnecessary means, why not suggest switching to paperless meetings (or at least printing double-sided to waste less!)
Another idea is to ban the use of paper cups. At Yahoo!, “Chuck the Cup” Day was held at four campuses to raise awareness about the environmental impact of using paper cups, highlighting the things employees can do to create a more sustainable workplace. A Green Team member, Kai Haley, calculated how many paper cups were consumed every 15 minutes (over 100) on the Yahoo! main campus and created hexagon domes out of thrown away cups. Along with providing incentives to encourage employees to bring their own mug, Yahoo! put the attention-getting sculptures on the main lawn along with signage to raise awareness.
Image: AJ Products
3. Put your computer and printer on energy-saving settings when you know you'll be away from your desk for a while.
Give your computer and the electricity at the office a well-deserved break! Our devices consume tons of energy, even when we're not using them! So, unplug your charger when you don’t need it, and put your computer on sleep or off mode when you’re not at your desk. Small adjustments - such as lowering your screen brightness, reducing the amount of tabs you have open, or even downsizing how many applications you use — can also save power, and be a lot kinder to our planet!
4. Encourage employees to recycle at home; provide a listing of recycling centers or reuse sites such as Freecycle.com.
The idea of freecycling is to promote the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) by making it easy for people to give away their unwanted but reusable items to people who can use them. The way it works is that there are thousands of locally run, grassroots freecycling groups around the world. Once you find and join your local groups, you can post 'Offers' for items you want to give away, or 'Requests' for items you need. Why not educate your colleagues about freecycling, and do some research into your nearest groups?
Encourage employees to not just recycle at work, but recycle at home too! Why not do some research on where the nearest recycling facilities are in your area, and send a list out to your colleagues?
5. Donate unwanted mobile phones to organisations such as Recellular, Inc., that will recycle, refurbish, and promote reuse to provide funding for charitable and environmental causes.
Recellular, Inc. offers the recycling and reselling of used cellular phones and accessories. The company provides services in refurbishing, reusing, and recycling discarded cell phones. Why not encourage your colleagues to donate their unwanted mobile phones and electrical devices to organisations such as Recellular, and then donate the money to a charity that means something to your company, or of course to an environmental cause ?
6. Create campaign calendars
Come up with a 12 month campaign schedule to focus on different sustainability topics each month. For example you could dedicate January activities to recycling awareness and February to energy (i.e. Genentech employees formeda Kill-a-Watt Lending program that allows employees to measure their power consumption) and so on. Creating a campaign calendar promotes sub-committee groups spurring off to spearhead specific activities related to the monthly themes!
Establishing a green team at work is a win for the employer, the employees, and the world environment that sustains us all! Having a green team in an organisation not only increases employee engagement, but it also helps to focus more minds on tackling tough problems and coming up with creative solutions, thereby gaining more buy-in from employees and creating a stronger culture of sustainability, which of course also has a huge positive impact on our planet. Today, as sustainability and ways to become more “green” becomes more mainstream, a growing number of employees want to work for companies that are committed to sustainability and seek a job where the green practices they value at home are being implemented at the office.
Hopefully after reading this blog post you now have a better understanding of what a green team is, and how to create one at work, even if it is just by starting with the small things such as encouraging colleagues to use the stairs instead of always using the lift! Mr. Stroodles loves to hear from you all, so if you do use any of the ideas we’ve spoken about above to help your green team get started, please do let us know!
Still looking for inspiration? Then why not check these companies out - they have created a culture of green teams within their workplace:
1. eBay has a green team that has thousands of members worldwide. The team started out at the San Jose location and has expanded globally with members from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. The effort has sparked eBay's employee engagement as many employees welcomed the opportunity to gather, discuss, and learn about environmental issues.
Some key activities the eBay Green Team has sponsored include:
2. In 2003, Genentech employees formed the Green Genes group to help the company go green. A third of Genentech’s employees participate in Green Genes, making it one of our largest employee clubs.
With their Sustainability Suggestion website, the team is harvesting ideas from the entire company to capture ideas that may improve Genentech's environmental performance. The team will then do research to prioritize the ideas, and facilitate the process to link the viable ideas to internal environmental programs.
Key activities include:
Over the years, Green Genes’ focus on environmentalism has created broad changes in the company, including the expansion of composting and water and energy conservation programs. Green Genes has also spearheaded multiple landfill-reduction initiatives including a textile recycling drive, pen recycling, food waste minimization and encouraging employees to opt for reusable china instead of disposables in our cafeteria. Green Genes also strives to educate Genentech’s employees on global sustainability efforts.
3. Intel, with over 80,000 employees at 300 facilities, has 7 or 8 informal sanctioned employee green teams.
Intel’s green team helped launch a program that offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs to employees, allowing them to easily access locally grown food.
They offer speakers and educational forums, composting in cafeterias and are piloting Carbonrally, a web‐based activism platform that challenges users to reduce their personal carbon footprints. Participating employees will be able to make individual pledges for reduction in their work and office environments, helping Intel meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Their initial efforts were more ad hoc, focused on green solutions in the work place. About 350 employees are part of their Yahoo! green group with 10 to 20 people acting as champions for specific projects, including: