The environment plays a significant role in our health and quality of life. According to the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences, climate change – in the form of heat waves, air pollution, extreme weather, severe storms and flooding – affects our health and well-being in many ways, including:
- Worsened allergies and lung diseases, such as asthma
- Increased cardiovascular disease
- More heat-related illnesses and deaths
- Foodborne and waterborne illness and disease, due to contaminated water
Additionally, many substances in our environment – like pesticides and chemicals used in plastics – interfere with human hormones, playing a role in the development of cancer and reproductive issues.
So what’s a company to do? With most people spending at least a third of their time at work, the office is a great place to increase environmental awareness. Celebrate Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22nd by trying some of our favorite ideas:
1. Get rid of bottled water
Cut down on waste by investing in a water cooler. Give every employee a company-branded reusable water bottle, provide a supply of glasses or ask employees to bring their own to work.
2. Reuse and recycle
Set up a recycling program in your office if you don’t have one – for paper, cans and plastic. Replace disposable cups, dishes and silverware with ones that can be washed and reused (or at least recycled).
3. Carless Commute Challenge
Challenge employees to get to work by bus, bike or on foot. For car addicts, try with a short one week challenge. Reward those who do with wellness program points, cash or gift cards.
4. Get eco-friendly with your office supplies
Use recycled paper and ink cartridges. And go as digital as you can by encouraging employees not to print unless they absolutely must. You can also set printers to default to double-sided printing.
5. Community clean-up party
Plan a company event where people can help with planting and pruning trees, weeding, etc. Organize teams at your office to get people outside, active, and most of all – do something good for the environment.