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Workplaces play an important role in championing sustainability and have a responsibility to not only reduce waste but to also set a strong example for their employees and for the communities in which they operate.
Reducing waste is not only the good and sustainable thing to do, it is also a great way for businesses to cut out unnecessary costs. Toronto lawyer at Diamond and Diamond, Jillian Carrington, is one of the office’s resident eco-champions and sets an example for others in the office and for her children at home on how to make sustainable choices.
“I’m mindful of avoiding a consumer culture that creates constant waste” she shares. Carrington is a vegetarian, only buys vegan or cruelty-free products and avoids plastic through buying in bulk and bringing a lunch to work. Carrington offers some simple tips that anyone can implement to help make your home and office more eco-friendly.
Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products, wherever possible
“All household products I purchase are vegan and cruelty-free” shares Carrington. “Most labels are pretty good about identifying whether or not a product is designed with eco-friendliness in mind.”
Bring your lunch to work in a reusable Tupperware as much as possible
When you do eat out, re-use the plastic containers your food comes in whenever possible and keep utensils and a reusable straw at your desk so you don’t have to use plastic ones. “I try to purchase products from bulk stores to avoid plastic containers” shares Carrington.
Ensure all lights, heating, etc. are turned off at the end of the day
…and especially before the weekend. It’s also a good idea to ask your building manager about green energy options. There could be solar energy substitutions that you can help inspire building management to implement.
Implementing monthly “green challenges” for teams can make going green fun. You can even introduce competition and leaderboards as well as offer prizes, rewards, and recognition to keep employees engaged and motivated.
Digitize as much as possible
While it’s difficult for a Law Firm, and other traditional industries to go completely paperless, Carrington shares that Diamond and Diamond Law has been able to go paperless in the last year, which has reduced their waste significantly.
Encourage carpooling and green commuting
Companies can provide internal resources and guidelines to help employees identify colleagues who live nearby in order to facilitate carpooling. You could also consider subsidizing at least a part of public transportation costs in order to incentivize employees to take the bus, train, etc. Adding bike locks or secure bike storage options is a great way to encourage cycling – which is not only green but healthy as well.
Add some green to the space
Plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, they also offer a number of physical and mental health benefits (e.g. reducing illnesses, allergens, improving mood and productivity). “I have plants in my office at Diamond Law and in every room in my home!” shares Carrington.