Written by: Allie Willison, Customer Experience @blueland
With close to 50% of Americans shifting to working from home this past year, we’re all ready to spice up our work space for the new year. Whether it’s a home office, a kitchen table, or just a simple desk, here are a few ways to turn your workspace into an eco-friendly paradise.
First things first, you have to set up your space. Try to have a separate space sectioned off for work when we’re not able to literally separate due to the office being a no go. Pick your spot and take stock.
Setting Up Your Low Waste Work Space
If you’re starting from scratch and need some office furniture a great option to lessen your carbon footprint is to aim for second hand or vintage finds.
Now as a New Yorker, I’m not opposed to a desk found walking back from the diner that’s left on the curb (it is technically reclaimed), but if that’s not your jam you can scour your local thrift or antique stores for cool finds (if they’re open). However, if you’d rather shop from the comfort of your couch, check out sites like Apt Deco, Kayio, or even Craigslist! Some of them will even handle delivery.
You can also find ways to revamp an existing chair or table in your home! A good coat of paint or wood stain can really change a piece. The addition of a cool cushion or even reupholstering an old kitchen chair can save a lot in terms of both money and waste.
We also recommend adding a plant or two, plants keep your mood up and can help keep the air fresh all day! The best option for finding plants would be your local flower farm or greenhouse! Once again, if you’re a couch shopper– try Bloomscape (which are shipped directly from their greenhouse, cutting shipping emissions). Or if you have a death thumb instead of a green thumb (like me) and can only keep the most resilient shrubs alive, try Botany Box for succulents! They ship from L.A. in completely plastic free packaging.
Low Waste Office Supplies
Pen? Check. Paper? Check. Cut down on waste with these essentials tools by investing in some refillable pens. American’s throw away 1.6 Billion pens a year so we can all stand to cut back and find an alternative that won’t end up in the landfill.
We love the fountain pens from Goulet! Fancy and functional. If you’re looking for a more affordable option since the fountain pen life can get a little pricey, try Eco Pen Club. Made from recycled kraft paper and they’re compostable!) There are endless options out there depending on how much you want to spend and what kind of writing experience you’re looking for. I’m partial to fountain pens and quills since you can find ink that comes in sustainable packaging quite easily, then use them over and over again– sometimes modern problems like too much plastic require ancient solutions.
If you prefer to hand write notes and lists opt for recycled paper notebooks (that are FSC certified). You can even find tape made from 100% recycled paper! Then ditch the binder clips, rubber bands, and any other plastic doohickey as much as you can. Using reusable ties, twine, or ribbon can be great alternatives. For little notes, try seed paper! You can use these cute shapes from Bloomin in place of sticky notes, then plant them afterwards!
Finally, print as little as possible! If you have a printer and don’t really need it, put her in the closet. Most toner and ink cartridges aren’t recyclable and can add up in terms of waste.
How To Cut Out Digital Waste
If you’re in dire need of a new computer and you have to ditch the old one, make sure to check with the company to see if they’ll recycle them! Apple even has a credit program that can go towards your new purchase.
Or check with your local recycling center, you may have to remove the battery but most of them have some sort of electronic recycling program! Just make sure to back everything up and clear the mainframe (don’t want to accidentally lose all the memes you’ve saved this year!)
When you’re done with your day take a moment to unwind. You’ve earned it and it’s good to let yourself shift from work mode to relaxation mode!
Just make sure to unplug your computer or tablet so there’s no extra energy in use. Investing in a powerstrip can also minimize your energy consumption throughout the day!
We hope these tips help you to turn your little corner of productivity into a mean, green, getting stuff done machine!