As I was going through some old files lately, I came across an environmental program I created for a former employer several years ago, and found a slew of ideas for promoting environmentalism year round and honoring Earth Day (April 22, 2019). Even small efforts can have a great impact on the environment, and by offering a broad range of activities, chances are good that every employee will participate in at least one activity.
One quick tip up front… consider creating a Green Team to help you come up with additional ideas and to help you administrate some of these programs. I found that many employees were passionate about helping our planet, and so it was easy to pull a group together to get creative and to help spread the word.
Here are just a few of the ideas we implemented:
Recycling: If you haven’t yet, institute a recycling program at your workplace. Even better, offer a regular personal shredding day for employees. Allow them to bring in confidential papers and have them shredded at no charge. And one of the best ideas is to hold an electronics recycling event for employees, where they can bring old printers, computers, phones, etc., and have them recycled.
Gas Cap Check: Up to 30 gallons of gasoline can escape from a leaking gas cap, and that can directly affect your local air quality. Host a Gas Cap Check Replacement Event by bringing in a partner to check employees’ personal gas caps for emissions, and have your fleet vehicles checked as well.
Refueling: Refueling between 6 p.m. and midnight reduces air pollution. Have employees bring in receipts showing they “gassed up” during those hours and enter them into a monthly drawing for a gas card.
Lights Off: Encourage employees to turn off their office and conference room lights when the rooms are not in use. Use your team to gather names of employees who turned off their own lights or other electronics, and to reward others they see turning off conference room, restroom and other office lights. Reward these employees by entering them in a monthly drawing for prizes.
Stay in for Lunch: Encourage employees to stay in for lunch and reduce unnecessary travel. Collect the names of staff you and your team find eating at the office or walking to a local restaurant, and enter their names in a drawing for a nearby restaurant gift card.
Holiday Ideas: Before a major holiday, share ideas via email and/or your company newsletter on eco-friendly gifts, gift wrapping and cards. You can easily find ideas online – here are some great suggestions for Easter!
And one final thought… the next time you order chachkies or giveaways for employees, order environmentally-friendly items, such as reusable grocery bags, mugs to replace plastic and paper cups, insulated lunch bags to encourage employees to bring their lunch, etc.
When we implemented these programs, we tracked the impact as best we could (particularly of our recycling efforts). We increased the number of trees we were able to save by approximately 35% in just one year. It’s a small step but think of the impact if we all made small steps every day.