Working From Home Sustainably
Sustainability starts at home. With more and more of us working from home, now is as good an opportunity as ever to improve sustainability habits.
Harsh artificial lighting is one of the worst parts of working in an office — so why reproduce that at home? Save energy by positioning your desk near a sunny window and turning down the lights around your house. This study found that natural sunlight improves employee mood and productivity — aka energy-saving efforts plus an added boost to productivity.
Ditch Extra Paper and Plastic
Trips to our favorite cafes before work have been replaced by regular coffee breaks in our kitchens. This simple habit change adds up to less single-use coffee cups or reusable cups. Sixteen billion paper cups are used for coffee each and every year — which means 6.5 million trees cut down, 4 billion gallons of water going to waste, and the loss of enough energy to power 54,000 homes for a year.
Take this time at home to find your favorite mug and perfect your coffee brewing skills. We won’t blame you for rushing back to your favorite coffee shop when businesses open back up — but we hope you’ll consider bringing your reusable cup, if considered safe, to fill with your favorite local brew!
The same goes for switching out water bottles for reusable bottles or at-home glassware.
Washcloths for the Win
We can’t deny the utility of a good roll of paper towels. Inevitably we deal with spills, stains, and messes around the house on a daily basis, and there’s nothing easier than wiping up a mess with paper towels and disposing of them. But those paper towels add up day to day and household to household — amounting to 13 billion pounds of paper towel waste each year in America.
Switching to washcloths for most or all of your daily spills and stains makes a monumental difference in your personal consumption footprint. Washcloths are more absorbent, reusable, and available in many more colors and designs that fit with any home’s aesthetic.
Watch Your Water Usage
It can be tempting to toss a dish in the dishwasher or pair of pants in the washing machine and hit start. But waiting until you have a full load of laundry or a full dishwasher before running a cycle can reduce your water usage and save your water bill.
Some may also consider installing a low-flow showerhead that optimizes water pressure and reduces gallons per minute by as much as 50%. Some even offer an option to pause for when you are shampooing or washing your body and can save hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water per year.
There are countless other ways to work from home sustainably, such as making meals at home versus ordering takeout or buying groceries in bulk instead of making multiple trips.