7 Small Improvements You Can Make to Your Office Ahead Of Earth Day

April 4, 2022

With Earth Day just around the corner, now’s a good time to check in and see where you can start making greener choices in your workplace. You don’t have to go big, though — even small changes can add up to make a difference. The important thing is to get started and set an example for those around you.


In this article, we’ll give you a few eco-conscious improvements you can make at the office. Start with these practices to take part in protecting our environment. And if you can keep them going, you can make a big difference indeed.


When Is Earth Day?

Every year, on April 22, almost 1 billion people in over 192 countries come together for Earth Day. The very first Earth Day was observed in the United States. Now, it’s the largest public celebration in the world.


In 1970, a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, prompted Sen. Gaylord Nelson to mobilize the energy of collective action to raise awareness about the environment.


So, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to rally for the first official Earth Day. And in 1990, Earth Day became a worldwide event with at least 200 million participants.


What Is Earth Day About?

The movement was started to raise awareness and encourage environmental protection — while encouraging people to recycle. The impact of the very first Earth Day was huge. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established the same year.


It also led to policy changes and the establishment of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Many more environmental laws have passed because of Earth Day’s impact!


To this day, Earth Day is all about educating people about conservation, protesting against climate change, and encouraging everyone to do good for the planet.

7 Office Improvements to Make Ahead of Earth Day

There’s no shortage of impactful activities you and your team can do to get involved for Earth Day. You can explore how to help take care of the planet in your own way

But to get you started, here are examples and ideas that may resonate with your office culture and values.


Identify Processes That Can Be Paperless or Can Use Recycled Paper

Do an eco-audit — ask your team to identify areas for improvement. For most businesses, some tasks and functions that can become paperless include:

  • Accounting
  • Document signatures
  • Expense tracking
  • Time and attendance tracking


If you’re wondering if such an undertaking is worth the effort, here are some benefits of going paperless:

  • You save time. Your team won’t need to spend time organizing, filing, and searching for documents anymore. Opting for paperless formats also reduces human error in organizing and filing.
  • You save space. You won’t need filing cabinets to store printed documents and files.


So, for this year’s Earth Day, help reduce waste by using less paper since paper may contribute to greenhouse gas production and deforestation. In return, you can streamline your workflow and be more efficient.


For tasks and functions that require paper, consider purchasing paper made from recycled materials to minimize your impact on the planet, and FSC certified to ensure responsible forestry practices. After the paper is used, you can recycle it.

Participate in a Local Cleanup

Get your hands dirty and take part in a local cleanup. Earth Day is all about participation and direct action, after all. It’s also a great way to give back to your community, meet new people, and have fun.


Some activities include picking up trash, recycling, and cleaning public spaces. Check out the following for more information and events near you:


Transition to Recyclable Food Utensils

If your team enjoys potlucks or eating together, one of the easiest ways to embrace the mission of Earth Day is to look for certified compostable* and recyclable* dishes, like Eco-Products cups, plates, and cutleries, instead of stocking your office kitchen with disposable plastic containers and cutleries.
*Recyclable and Compostable where facilities exist.


You can also encourage employees to switch to eco-conscious choices like reusable water bottles. There are many options for stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free plastic water bottles. And maybe you can provide a water refilling station instead of buying bottled water for your office.

Choose Eco-Conscious Cleaning Products

Choosing a greener, more sustainable lifestyle also extends to almost everything you do daily. This includes how you travel, what you buy, and what you use to clean yourself, your home, or your workplace. As it happens, there are greener cleaning products that are better for the environment, like Simple Green cleaners and Highmark greener cleaning products.


The products are made from naturally derived materials or chemicals that are less harmful to humans and the environment. When buying eco-conscious cleaning products, you’ll probably come across “Green Seal” or “ECOLOGO” products. These are certifications that help customers make greener choices confidently.


Green Seal is an independent non-profit founded in 1989. It certifies thousands of products and services that meet science-based environmental standards that are credible and transparent. Green Seal utilizes a life-cycle approach to ensure tangible reductions in the whole environmental footprint. On the other hand, ECOLOGO certified products are verified on multi-attribute, life cycle–based standards. All products that are certified to an ECOLOGO standard must meet or exceed each criteria before receiving the mark


Host a Recycling Challenge

As part of your commitment to going green, you can also host a recycling challenge ahead of Earth Day. Ideally, set a timeline of one or two months to see who in your office can recycle the most items like cans, water bottles, and paper.


If you want to involve the whole company, you can also do it by department. Then, at the end of the contest, you can make this initiative permanent by setting up dedicated recycle bins in the office kitchen and other common areas. 


Create a Carpooling Group

Another way to get employees involved with Earth Day is through carpooling. Aside from spending less money on gas, carpooling can be fun and may even help reduce the stress of driving for your employees.


Even if you only get a few people to drive together a few days a week, it can help reduce the amount of fuel usage and air pollution brought about by the number of cars on the road. To start this project, you can send out a simple survey for anyone interested. Ask if they want to join as a driver, as a passenger only, or if they would be willing to do a little of both.


Once you have a group, help them out with figuring the rules. Some questions to ask might be:

  • How far ahead do you plan for who is driving and who is sharing a ride?
  • What happens when someone calls in sick or otherwise cancels?
  • How do you choose the pickup location?
  • How does the group communicate with one another?
  • How are the expenses calculated and paid?


Let Employees Work From Home

For this year’s Earth Day celebration, you can also lower your environmental impact by letting employees work from home. Fewer people driving to work can mean reduced gas usage.


If you’re a company that can do it long term, you may even consider launching a work-from-home (WFH) day each week. You won’t have to worry about being the only company, as more and more businesses are switching to full or partial remote work environments.


Some benefits of letting your team work from home include:

  • It allows you to be competitive. Since many companies have begun allowing employees to work from home, candidates have now come to expect it. So, if you want to keep your people happy and attract the best talent, consider implementing remote work options in your company.
  • It saves time. If employees can save at least an hour from getting ready for work and commuting, they may feel happier having the extra time — leading to better work outcomes.
  • It saves money. Offering full or partial remote work long term can save your company money on expenses like rent, utilities, and office supplies. Employees also save money if they don’t need to commute and pay for gas, parking, or public transportation.


Make Earth Day Special in Your Office

Use Earth Day to inspire your employees to commit to greener living. To start, you can take part in saving the planet with fun, educational, and impactful activities. For more ideas on what you can do as a company, check out the Earth Day 2022 toolkit.

In addition, put your sustainable living goals in motion through shopping from the GreenerOffice™ assortment. It’s a collection of thousands of high-quality products with eco-attributes and eco-labels to help reduce the workplace environmental impact. 


About the Author

Wendy Murphy is a freelance writer for digital-native brands. She writes about personal finance, sustainable living, and marketing.

All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.