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Breakroom Tips

Expert Advice - TheGreenOffice.com

Use these tips and tricks to cut down on waste (and spending) in the break room.

1. Waste not. Use real dishes, not disposable products. All you need is a sink, soap, sponge, and dish rack. 

2. Get your hands (and your dishes) clean. Hand-wash instead of using a dishwasher to save energy. And while you’re at it, get biodegradable sponges and soaps and phosphate-free soap.

3. If you must. If your only option is to use disposable cold cups, plates, or cutlery, look for sustainable products, especially compostable ones (we have compostable products in all of these categories, including hot cups).  Especially avoid Styrofoam products; consider Bagasse products instead.

4. Make yourself at home. Have everyone bring in their own mug from home, or purchase some mugs, cups, cutlery, plates and bowls for the office. There’s also something to be said for having a few comforts from home in your workspace.

5. Get used. When it comes to products, the greenest thing is to use something that’s already been created, instead of creating something new.  It’s also usually cheaper, so look to buy used equipment, from plates to fridges. You can buy from thrift stores.

6. Buy Energy Star. If you must buy new appliances, look for energy efficient ones, look for ones that are Energy Star certified.  This is another green tip that also saves money. 

7. Lose the baggage. Cut down on needless packaging. For example, share milk and cream for coffee, instead of using individual cream or creamer packets, and spoons available for stirring, instead of disposable stirrers.

8. Turn Paper Into Trees—Recycle & Compost. Put compost and recycle bins in your breakroom. Trust us, once your office starts doing it, your employees will love it. Just throw compost in small green containers (lined with compostable Biobags) and empty them frequently. Small containers are easier to clean, too. And remember in some areas (like San Francisco), you can even compost food-soaked paper and help turn those disposable plates back into trees!

9. Skip the water cooler. If you don’t like your tap water, consider a water filter in the fridge instead of a water cooler or individual bottled water.  This one will save you a ton of money too!

10. Unplug the energy sucks. Plug all the non-fridge appliances, such as the microwave, coffee maker/grinder, toaster, etc. into a power strip (surge protector) so that you can switch their power off at the end of the day.  Appliances plugged in, even if not in use, suck some energy.