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Good Practice Checklist: Actions for a Green Office

By 14th February 2014July 26th, 2022No Comments


Posted by: Paul Foster

The Checklist provides a simple way to measure your current environmental performance. Whatever it is, make a start on improving performance. Consider how environmental issues can improve your service performance and reduce costs.

  • Look at ECO News for information.
  • Does your building have an ECO Noticeboard? Is it updated.
  • Do you have an ECO contract manager?


  • Photocopy both sides of the paper whenever possible.
  • Specify double sided for all jobs sent to print units.
  • Ensure instructions on photocopier use are available to reduce waste. Consider a note to all staff.
  • Use the reduction feature on a copier to fit more on a page.

Documents and Communications

  • Keep Committee reports to two sides of paper.
  • Is a memo really needed (could you use Email?).
  • Circulate papers rather than sending several copies.
  • Do you have or use a notice-board? Make Noticeboards work harder (for Today’s Press, Newsletters).
  • Reduce printing, use the folder system for storage.
  • Regularly check and update distribution lists.
  •  Save paper by design: narrower margins and smaller fonts may sometimes be acceptable (a font size of 8 or 10 could be used).
  • Think before you ink: be concise and economical with words. If you use a computer or word processor, edit on-screen as much as possible to avoid printing multiple drafts.
  • Reduce the acceptance of trade literature and catalogues to central points and prevent duplication and wastage.


  • Reuse scrap paper for notes
  • A4 and A5 Memo pads can be replaced by scrap pads.
  • Use scrap paper instead of Message note paper.
  • Use the smallest size envelope required.
  • For all internal mail use the multi-use envelope.
  • For all external mail re-use envelopes with a re-use label.

Paper Usage

  • Use chlorine free, high post consumer waste recycled papers.
  • Buy recycled goods and help create a demand for the waste.
  • Chose the minimum specification to do the job.
  • Do not specify tinted papers unnecessarily.
  • Use multi-purpose papers where possible.

Purchasing Power

  • Purchase goods marked green from CBS Supplies.
  • Have a used goods area within the office and include binders, padded envelopes, files, diskettes, envelopes.
  • Buy refuse sacks made from recycled plastic
  • Avoid Products Containing Hazardous Substances.
  • Avoid using batteries use mains electricity where possible.
  • Where batteries have to be used buy rechargeable ones.

Consider products with minimum packaging.

  • Reduce the Impact Of Packaging: Use concentrates; Use refillable containers; Use packaging material made from recycled material.
  • Consider the life cycle of a product. Keep and care for your own pen. Could you supply staff with refills?

Catering and Cleaning

  • Select more environmentally benign materials.
  • Select alternatives to solvents if available.
  • Replace hazardous material with less hazardous alternatives.
  • Avoid “coloured” lavatory cleaners.
  • Do not use excessive amounts: a little bleach left for a long time is just as effective as a lot for a short time.
  • Use “natural” alternatives, e.g. vinegar to remove limescale.
  • Minimise the range of products on site.
  • Ensure separation of acids, alkalis, bleaches and solvents.
  • Ensure adequate training in correct usage/awareness.


  • Switch lights off when not in use.
  • Use messages next to switches to make staff aware.
  • Use localised pull cords for turning lights off.
  • Have tungsten light bulbs replaced by new energy saving “compact” fluorescent lamps.
  • Use thin fluorescent tubes, they have the same light output as the thicker ones but use less energy.
  • As the thicker tubes fail, replace them with thin ones. (Check the suitability of older fittings first).
  • Clean shades: A dirty shade can cut down light by 20%.
  • Replace flickering tubes promptly.
  • Use light coloured surfaces to improve illumination levels.
  •  Install “zoned” lighting in preference to main room lights.
  • Invest in automatic lighting controls such as time clocks and presence detectors to prevent lights being left on.


  • Know who controls the heating system in your building.
  • Keep thermometers in prominent locations
  • Know the settings for your thermostat control system.
  • Discourage the use of supplementary heaters.
  • Close doors and windows/doors when the heating is on.
  • Switch off extractor fans at night and at weekends.
  • Ensure radiators and heaters are not blocked by furniture.
  • In open plan areas use screens to block draughts.
  • If a new heating system is planned, invest in zone controls.
  • If boilers are to be replaced, install condensing boilers.

General Energy Usage

  • Keep detailed energy consumption records for your building.
  • Request an energy audit of your building.
  • Switch computers off when not in use.
  • Give responsibility for turning off equipment.
  • Switch off equipment at the plug when not needed.


  • Have dripping taps and leaks repaired promptly.
  • Always put the plug in the basin when washing your hands.
  • Install spray taps and ensure all basins have plugs.
  • Consider installing spray taps which only release a particular volume.
  •  Do not overfill kettles or boilers, use the minimum volume.
  • Chose products that can be reused/refurbished.

Equipment Purchasing

  • When choosing office equipment, consideration should be given to the recycled material content of packaging and components of the equipment itself.
  • Use suppliers with a commitment to environmental issues. Conscientious suppliers will advertise manufacturing practices such as; waste reduction, waste recycling, reduction in the emission of carbon gases during manufacture.
  • For photocopiers: the ability for double sided photocopy is a prime specification; ozone and dust emissions from equipment and the need for the replacement of ozone filters; the ability to use recycled papers.
  • Dispose of equipment thoughtfully. Can someone else use it?

Staff Travel

  • Ensure that meetings/conferences/training events are held at venues served by public transport.
  • Pool cars should be used where available.
  • Car sharing should be standard practice when travelling to meetings.
  • Use a contact list to help car share in advance of meetings.
  • Consider a minibus for some meetings for large numbers of staff.Encourage more use of public transport.
  • Use video conferencing as an alternative to travel.
  • Use phone conferencing as an alternative to travel.