Organisations have significant buying power. Swinging that power around to make the best use of our limited resources is easier than ever.
Our workplaces provide great opportunities to make a real impact through our purchasing choices. Imagine the difference it would make if all organisations purchased renewable energy, used 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper and recycled or refilled their thousands of printer cartridges.
Often the shift required is minimal (e.g. moving from non-recycled paper to recycled paper), yet the effect from many workers observing this habit over time is profound.
How to do it now!
Audit your office purchases and go green. Compile a master list of all supplies and equipment used by your organisation and identify environmentally-preferred options as well as suppliers for each.
Buy recycled paper. Buying recycled paper complements a staff effort to use less paper and recycle it (see our Save paper and forests action), and significantly reduces the impact on the environment. Some things to aim for when purchasing recycled paper include:
Buy renewable electricity. Switching the organisation's energy from coal to renewable electricity complements a staff effort to use less energy (see our Buy renewable electricity action) and encourages further effort by all.
The following list of Green power electricity retailers is ordered with the Greenest at the top and dirtiest at the bottom. This ranking comes from The Green Electricity Guide, a collaboration between CHOICE, the Total Environment Centre (TEC), Greenpeace and the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
To switch, just call the number on your latest electricity bill (or from the table below) and tell them you want to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity (or a percentage).If you are in the mood for a change, here is the list (greenest at the top).
|Powershop||1800 462 668||-||Yes||-||-||-||-||Yes||-||86%|
|Diamond Energy||1300 838 009||-||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||85%|
|Momentum Energy||1800 794 824||-||Yes||-||-||Yes||-||Yes||-||69%|
|Aurora Energy||131 002||-||-||-||-||-||Yes||-||-||65%|
|Red Energy||131 806||-||Yes||-||-||Yes||-||Yes||-||60%|
|Lumo Energy||1300 115 866||-||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||59%|
|ActewAGL||13 14 93||Yes||Yes||-||-||-||-||-||-||58%|
|Origin Energy||13 24 63||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||57%|
|Dodo Power & Gas||133 636||-||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||49%|
|Energy Australia||13 15 02||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||49%|
|Click Energy||1800 775 929||-||Yes||-||Yes||-||-||Yes||-||47%|
|Power Direct||1300 307 966||-||Yes||-||Yes||Yes||-||Yes||-||47%|
|Ergon Energy||13 10 46||-||-||-||Yes||-||-||-||-||46%|
|Synergy||13 13 53||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||Yes||42%|
* Retailers are scored on:
Source: The Green Electricity Guide Report.
Buy the most efficient office equipment. Analysing and understanding the lifetime cost of equipment - a cost that includes the cost of operational energy and resource use (e.g. paper) - is essential for making sustainable decisions (and business cases). So, when looking to purchase or lease computers, printers, fax machines, and copiers ensure they:
Purchase recycled ink and toner cartridges. Reconditioned or remanufactured cartridges are available for the following office equipment:
According to the Australian Cartridge Remanufacturers Association (ACRA), remanufactured cartridges are now around 50 per cent cheaper than new products. The ACRA site has a database of remanufacturers if you want to purchase recycled ink and toner cartridges.
Reward staff with indoor plants. Encourage and (pay for) staff to deck the office with toxin-absorbing plants. Alternatively, plant rental (and service) companies exist that will fit out and maintain a jungle of indoor plants in your office.
Why is this action important?
Like all elements of our society, organisations need to become active participants in the journey towards sustainable living. In addition, as organisations commit to using less energy, water and resources, they show leadership to their staff. That's not to mention the money to be saved and the improvement to brand, culture and staff morale.