The TUC has today proposed 10 simple steps that employees can take at work to cut energy use and help to protect the environment.
UK workplaces and work-related transport generate around two-thirds of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, more than 66 million tonnes each year, the union umbrella group claims. And for many organisations, a 20% cut in energy would be easy to achieve, and would be the equivalent of a 5% increase in sales, the TUC claims in its Greening the Workplace guide.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, said: "More people are recycling and reducing energy use and waste at home, but for many people work is still a green-free zone, despite being the biggest polluter and power user in the UK.
"It may seem daunting at first, but if employers, employees and unions get together problems can be solved and good practice can be spread across the whole organisation."
Ten steps to 'greening the workplace'
- Switch off all computer equipment, appliances, motors and machinery when not in use.
- Take the stairs not the lift.
- If your workplace is too hot, turn the heating down instead of opening a window.
- If it is too cold in winter, ensure radiators and heaters aren't obstructed and ask your employer to install better insulation or even combined heat and power.
- Check if lighting is on unnecessarily in the middle of the day – 80% of the UK's lighting energy is used at work.
- If you are the last to leave, make sure you turn everything off behind you, including machinery, printers, drinks machines, fans, lights, etc.
- Set up a green travel plan. Some employers offer incentives for lower energy ways of travelling, such as cycling, public transport, car-sharing and walking.
- Apply the three 'Rs': Recycling is great, but Reducing waste and Re-using is even better.
- Reduce water use at work through publicity and simple adjustments to taps and toilets.
- Work together for a greener workplace.
The report Greening the Workplace is available online at www.sustainableworkplace.co.uk.