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Created on 19.03.2020

Self-check: how environmentally friendly am I at work?

There are many ways you can be environmentally friendly during the working day as well. But how good at it are you already? Do the self-check.

Sustainability is something that concerns all of us, and not just at home. We can also do a lot for the environment when we’re at work, right from that takeaway coffee in the morning to the end of the working day. This self-check will help you find out about the good you are already doing for the environment, and where you potentially have room for improvement too. The more of these statements you respond to with a yes, the better. And yes, little things also matter when it comes to sustainability.


Where possible, I always travel by public transport, on foot or by bike.
If I do go by car, I prefer to share a car.
I bring my reusable cup for my takeaway coffee in the morning.
I only print things out if necessary.
I have enabled two-sided printing by default.
I write out my notes digitally.
I don’t throw rubbish away without thinking, but sort out the rubbish and take PET, batteries and electrical waste to (internal or external) collection points. The more carefully waste is sorted, the more of it can be used.
To make sure I am not tempted to just throw rubbish away without thinking, I do not have my own bin under my desk.
If recycling is not yet put into practice where I work, I encourage my company to make a start on it.
Where possible, I use environmentally friendly stationery such as unpainted pencils or refillable pens. Here it’s a very good idea to speak to whoever's responsible for buying the stationery to suggest they consider buying more sustainable items.
Where possible and reasonable, I organize meetings with colleagues or customers in such a way that everyone can avoid travelling by car. For instance, instead of arranging an on-site meeting, I suggest a Skype meeting, or I choose a meeting point that everyone can get to easily by public transport. I only choose to travel by plane if absolutely necessary.
I take the stairs instead of the lift.
I put my computer in sleep mode during long breaks.
Where possible, I avoid buying ready meals in plastic packaging.
When I bring my own food, I pack it in an environmentally way.
When I get food in a canteen, restaurant or from a food stand, I bring a reusable container with me.
I can also happily occasionally go without meat.
I never throw leftovers away, and instead I always take them home with me to reuse. For when I fancy a snack, at home I separate a larger portion of food out into smaller portions that I put in small reusable containers so I don’t keep having to buy individually packaged items.
When I drink coffee, I try to avoid using capsules, instead preferring fair-trade coffee.
At the end of the day, I switch off my laptop, my desktop or other devices, such as my printer, to save on electricity and to increase their working life.
I turn off the lights if I’m the last person to leave the office.
When I meet my colleagues for a drink after work, I keep bringing up the subject of using resources sustainably, and possibly even encourage everyone to give some sort of eco-challenge a go in the office as a team.
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