Working from home may be a semi-permanent fixture for most of us now having stayed at home for a good majority of the year. Having a dedicated workstation is thus important since it can do wonders in ensuring we stay on track with our work while at home. A sustainable home office is a great example of how easy we can merge zero-waste and daily work together as we carve out that personal workspace. Not limited to just being beneficial to our health and well-being, it further ensures we are doing our part in advocating for a more sustainable lifestyle choice.
Here are some tips to help you in creating a sustainable green home office.
Your electronic devices such as your laptops, computers, and speakers, are using up energy even when not in use. When not turned off entirely or left to run on standby mode, these items are slowly draining energy in the background by responding to commands or performing updates even when not actively engaged by a user, and can suck up large amounts of electricity.
To prevent wasting your electricity usage, unplug your devices at the end of the workday. This way you not only do good for the earth but for your pocket as well.
Bring the great outdoors inside! Another way to make your home office green is to fill your space with houseplants. They are easy on the eyes and a brilliant way to improve your air quality thanks to their ability to purify the air.
Some plants like orchids and succulents even continue emitting oxygen at night, making it safe to house them indoors. Having indoor plants in your room can even help to reduce stress and create a peaceful environment, which can benefit your productivity and mental well-being as well.
Worried that you may not have any green fingers? There are plenty of low maintenance plants that require little care which are perfect for beginners or people with busy schedules. Some of them include the English Ivy, Snake Plant or even our local favourite, the Money Plant.
A total of 1,011,000 tonnes of paper waste was disposed by Singaporeans in 2019. This is the third largest amount of waste generated among the various types of waste generated in the country.
With the advent of technology, keeping things digital and going green in the office has become accessible and easy. Use your electronic devices for most of your transactions like online billing, invoicing and payments. It can also be as easy as filing work documents digitally on electronics instead of having physical folders, or reviewing them on-screen rather than printing out. If you must use paper in the office, consider if it is possible to reuse misprints to reduce the need for a fresh sheet.
One of the ways Geneco is doing their part for environment is to only issue e-bills and have gone paperless since its inception. This helps reduce the unnecessary carbon footprint incurred from paper bills and postage mailing. A small move to phase out physical bills is a huge step towards a better world. We even have a guide to help you understand your Geneco e-bills to ensure a hassle free process!
Whenever you run out of pen ink or are looking for stapler refills, the first thought will usually be to head for the supplies closet to retrieve a new batch of stationery. Instead of being dependent on these disposable office supplies, choose to reuse and opt for sustainable options.
Choose refillable pens or staple-less staplers to reduce your consumption and the amount of waste generated. You will be even surprised to know that there are plantable pencils in the market that are designed to be planted once they are of unusable length. To complete building your own eco-friendly home office, you could even try to adopt a plastic-free routine as you go about your daily tasks.
Selecting a workspace that has a window to allow natural light in is a great way to go green in your home office as well. This way, you save on your energy consumption by minimising the use of unnecessary lighting and get to enjoy the health benefits of Vitamin D which can improve your quality of sleep and productivity levels.
When optimum use of natural lighting is not possible, ensure your workplace is well lit by opting for an energy-efficient LED desk lamp. Not only do they not strain your eyes, they also consume 80 per cent less electricity and have longer lifespan than halogen bulbs.
Going green has never been easier, especially at work. It is a great way to keep individuals happy, healthy, and productive at the same time. Transform your home office into a green one today or challenge your colleagues to adopt sustainable practices for their own home office. You could even take it a step further to going green for your home by checking out Geneco’s Get It Green plan! At only 17.45cts/kWh, reducing your carbon footprint is both simple and affordable!
Share your ideas with one another on how to maintain a green office at home and power the change together!
Image Credits: Nylon Coffee Roasters
Source: The Sustainability Project
by Alvin Chong
With the recent series of online shopping events, such as the 9.9 and 10.10 sales, as well as the upcoming 11.11 Singles Day sales, the popularity of retail e-commerce activity is becoming increasingly widespread every day.
In Singapore, online retail sales takings in January 2019 stood at over $201 million, and is expected to double by 2022 from 2017 figures, according to CIMB’s Research. Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market was worth $31.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to hit $138.5 billion by 2025.
Added on with the COVID-19 preventive measures, the number of online purchases made by Singaporeans have also increased dramatically over the past few months.
However, is this good in terms of sustainability and environmental conservation? Let us weigh the benefits and environmental impact of physical and online retail.
The good news for shoppers who prefer e-commerce options is that they generally produce less greenhouse gases and emissions than those who travel physically to the store to browse and purchase their goods – yielding a carbon footprint about 50% lower than that of the traditional shopper.
According to research, about 3.1kg of CO2 is yielded per customer journey whereby the travelling to the stores itself accounts for about 75% of greenhouse emissions in the entire shopping process via the various modes of transportation, while the remaining emissions come from packaging, overheads of displaying the goods and running the store, and returning items.
However, even without travelling physically, there are still many factors that can contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint produced by e-commerce activities.
The most common and serious form of waste from e-commerce comes from the packaging involved in the entire process. Anyone who has received a parcel from an online purchase will likely attest that their products are usually packed in an excessive mix of cardboard and plastic used to minimise damages. The amount of cardboard used for the 165 billion packages shipped in the US yearly accounts for more than a billion trees alone, almost equivalent to 350,000 hectares of land, which is about five times the size of Singapore.
Another major source of waste and carbon emissions stems from the process of returning or exchanging products purchased online. This process is usually free, and customers have taken advantage of it – with the return rates of e-commerce products spiking by 95% over the last five years. By having the product shipped back to the supplier, replaced, repackaged, and then re-shipped back to the customer, the entire process produces up to 2 to 3 times more emissions than it would for a single journey. Returns in the US alone accounts to more than 2 billion kilograms of landfill waste and 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
Despite the many ways for e-commerce to create a massive carbon footprint and waste, there are also plenty of sustainable habits we can practice for our online activities:
1. Don’t buy on impulse
Take your time to consider the item you’re purchasing and eliminate any potential chance to return your product. Check out the reviews or do your research to help your purchase decision. By ensuring that your product makes only one trip to your home, you’ll be reducing the carbon footprint of your purchase, contributing to a more sustainable environment.
2. Avoid Express Shipping
Avoid the “express delivery” option for your purchases. Doing so will allow companies to consolidate more orders and their products together into one shipment instead of multiple shipments for single items, hence driving efficiency and reducing emissions.
3. Choosing to go green
Consider retailers and services that provide the possibility for a greener e-commerce journey. For instance, there are several brands that have made the swap from poly mailer bags to biodegradable ones, making use of 100% recyclable paper bags in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising on customer experience. Alternatively, you can support local initiative such as Package Pals, which collects single-use packaging from Singaporeans either via collection or by mail before redistributing them to retailers for re-use.
While we embrace the convenience of e-commerce as they become the more prevalent method of shopping, there are plenty of resources and initiatives available online helping us to make this process a sustainable one, as it should be and was meant to be.
With a little effort, we have everything we need to change the landscape of retail and consumerism, so what’s stopping you from becoming a greener shopper?
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