It pays to pay attention to the impact you're having on the environment, which is why you make an effort to ensure green practices at your office. But when it comes time to move to a new location, you may be concerned that relocating will add to your carbon footprint. An office move can be a source of waste and pollution, but if you plan correctly, you can make sure that your company lives up to its eco-friendly ideals by minimizing moving waste. Take a look at some tips that will help you make your office move as green as possible.
Donate Unwanted Items
Don't throw out office furniture and equipment that won't be making the move with you—donate it instead. Chances are good that the items that are too outdated or worn for commercial office use are still fine for other uses.
Look for organizations in your community that can make use of your unwanted items. Schools, libraries, nursing homes, and domestic abuse shelters are all examples of places that could really benefit from donations of furniture or electronics. If none of those are good options for you, then try a charity-run thrift shop. Your items will be sold at a discount to people in need, and the proceeds will go to a good cause, and you'll be able to write off the donations when you do your business's taxes. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you've done something good for the community that you do business in.
Recycle Broken Electronics
If you have electronics that aren't fit for donation, you still shouldn't throw them in the trash. Computers and other similar electronic items contain hazardous materials, and if they end up in a landfill, they can eventually contaminate the soil and groundwater.
Look for an waste recycling facility in your community. Or, contact the manufacturers of the equipment that you use. Some electronics manufacturers will buy back their own products (or even other company's products) for refurbishing or recycling when they come to the end of their useful life.
Chances are that when you're cleaning your office out for the move, you'll find plenty of paper items that you need to get rid of. Don't toss your shredded paper – use it instead of bubble wrap or foam peanuts to cushion items that you pack in boxes or crates. You'll save money on packing supplies and keep packing items that don't degrade easily out of the landfills.
Another smart idea is to use reusable plastic crates instead of wood or corrugated cardboard boxes for packing. You may be surprised at the difference that reusable plastic crates can make. According to a study conducted by the Reusable Packaging Association, reusable plastic containers use 39% less energy than corrugated cardboard, and produce 95% less solid waste. They also generate 29% less greenhouse gasses. What's more, hard plastic will protect fragile or sensitive items much more effectively than cardboard. You can even choose to rent the plastic crates you need for the move, so that you don't have to worry about storing them once you've unpacked. Many moving storage services offer reusable plastic crates for rent.
Alternatively, if you plan on keeping some of your equipment or records in a storage facility, you can purchase plastic crates for long-term storage. A plastic container with a tight seal will protect your equipment and paper from damage due to humidity or pest infestation in storage.
Making the effort to make sure that you keep the environmental impact of your office relocation as low as possibly is good for your community's local environment, but in many cases, green practices can save you money and hassle as well.