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#10 Ways To Go Green in Business Green initiatives at the workplace create healthy and inspiring environs for employees

By Baishali Mukherjee

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Going green has emerged as the buzz word not only in the business world but in every aspect of life. It is a movement that comes with a variety of benefits. Green initiatives at the workplace create healthy and inspiring environs for employees, trim down unnecessary waste and recognize the businesses as responsible for social development.

The following 10 reasons will help taking the plunge for businesses that are mulling the idea of going green.

1. Use Light with Insight

Energy is the most vital component of going green. "Introduce a guiding principle of turning off the office lights everyday while leaving any room for more than 10 minutes. Also install sensors that automatically switch off electrical fixtures when not needed," opined Ajay Mittal, Founder of MeraWorkshop, an online discovery and booking platform dedicated to workshops.

"Star-rated light bulbs are energy-efficient and consume at least two-third less energy than regular lights. Using them can be a great way of going green," he added.

2. Commuting Cleans Up

"Put in place a carpool system and encourage your employees to use it. Using bikes, walking or taking transit to work are also great ways to go about it. Introducing programs like "No Driving Day', which enables registered employees win prizes like a free lunch or an extra vacation day, can create immense enthusiasm," he shared.

3. A Healthy Office Environment

The environment is what motivated us. To create an inspiration for your employees Sananda Dasgupta, Founder, Wrong Route, a travel company, suggested acquiring non-hazardous cleaning products and enlivening the workspace with plants, which reduce indoor pollution. "Initiate a policy to buy furnishings, floor coverings and paints that are free of toxic chemicals," she pointed out.

4. Go Paperless As Much As You Can

To start with, one can put all the employee manuals and other such content on the digital space, instead of using printed papers. That way it is easier as well. Dasgupta advised on taking initiatives to shift to a paperless office, where all form of communications are available on-screen. "A fax modem can replace the traditional fax machine, so that all faxes can be sent via e-mail," she offered.

5. Make the Most of Computer Efficiency

Computers are often left turned on and this adds up to huge wastage of energy. According to Major Biju Balakrishnan, Co founder of DefMart, (manufacturer and supplier of solar power products) it is important to make a policy to turn off computers and the power source it's plugged into, when the employees are done for the day. This saves additional fifty percent of energy.

"Set the computers to go on sleep mode every time you take short breaks as this can reduce energy usage by seventy percent. Also keep in mind that screen savers do not save energy," he explained.

Do switch off other apparatus when not used, this reduces energy use by 25 percent and make invest in energy-efficient computers, monitors and printers.

6. Be Smart while Printing

Smartness is the best way to avoid misuse of resources, and paper is one substance that is misused globally. "As a first step set printers to print on both sides of paper and print in draft or "fast" mode whenever possible to save on ink," advocated Major Biju.

Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy remanufactured ones.

7. Ramp Up Your Recycling

Recycling is a very responsible way to go green. Enrol in a recycling program for all the redundant electronics, paper, cans, and cell phones. You can also opt for donation and refurbishing programs.

Ranodeep Saha, Founder of Rare Planet, selling products based on Indian Handicrafts, vouched for making it a policy to put the recycling items in accessible public spots and inform about what can and cannot be recycled. "Joining clubs that are devoted to build a strong commune in fostering an environment of "3R's - reduce, reuse and recycle, is highly appreciating," he endorsed.

8. Tweak your Travel

With the digital disrupting the ways of communication, we have an array of choices which while being highly efficient are also immensely cost effective. Saha suggests to invest in technologies like videoconferencing and other tech-based solutions to reduce travel both for you and your employees. "Endorse the use of transit and rent hybrid or high-mpg vehicles during business tour," he appended.

9. Save Water

Water is life and we all know it, but still leave taps dripping. One drop wasted per second waste 10,000 litre per year! Sunaina Agarwal, Founder, Desi Lantern, an event management company, prescribes some robust ways of saving water. "Put one or two plastic containers filled with pebbles in the reservoir of your toilet. That will displace nearly 4 liter of water each flush amounting to a great reduction of water usage over the years. Also think of planting native flora for implementing sophisticated irrigation methods," she recommended.

10. Eat Mindfully

What we eat is also a significant cog in maintaining a healthy environment. Simple things like reusable dishes, silverware and glasses to use at work can bring in a tangible change. Agarwal has some more choices in her platter. "Organic coffee and tea, local food for office events and parties and filtered drinking water instead of bottled can reduce waste dramatically," she asserted.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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