Authors: Daria Szczegielniak i Katarzyna Fajkiel
3 min read
Authors: Daria Szczegielniak i Katarzyna Fajkiel
3 min read
The pandemic, remote work, the need of arranging your home space quickly into a makeshift office – you have probably been dealing with it too, just as we all did. Every single day recently, actually. Some people say it is great and absolutely convenient – all you need to do to start working in the morning is just reach for your laptop and maybe prepare yourself a cup of coffee beforehand. You can literally work all day long in your bed. Meanwhile, others consider it a real nightmare – you feel bored without your coworkers, lonely and, on top of that, your home office could start looking really messy. Unfortunately, remote work doesn’t often go well with ecology. Is it then possible to work at home and still bring the zero waste principles into life? Sure!
One of the Eurostat reports says that Poles waste 9 million tons of food every year. In other words, each of us throws away around 52 kg of food yearly. If you want to prevent food waste in local restaurants, cafes, bakeshops and markets (and save up to 50% at the same time), consider installing one of the apps like Foodsi or Too Good To Go. What is more, over 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the seas and oceans every year and 85% of all the rubbish on beaches is also plastic, in one form or another.
According to the Greenprojects estimations, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas and oceans by 2050. Only in the EU countries 36.4 billion plastic straws are used annually. Don’t such stats sound terrifying? The condition of our planet has been worse and worse year by year. The surface of the ice sheet has been steadily decreasing, many species of wild animals have gone extinct and the level of sea and oceans has been constantly rising. Unfortunately, these changes are mainly caused by humans and their recklessness with which we they – we, in fact – treat our planet.
Scientists alarm that by the year 2030 these changes will be irreversible. We do not have much time to act. This is why all of us should do our best to reverse the trend. Fortunately, eco-awareness in Poland has improved recently. Year by year, we know more about climate changes and environmental pollution. There are more and more people who live in accordance with the zero-waste lifestyle. But what is it, exactly?
Simply speaking, zero waste is an idea of restraining yourself from waste, in every sense of the word. However, it is not just living without wasting anything, although it could be a good start. Zero waste also means not using any resources in excess and avoiding over-exploitation. We can define 5 aspects of zero waste ideology.
Refuse – saying no to some convenient, yet not necessary resources in life.
Reduce – reducing consumption of resources.
Reuse – saying no to one-off resources and choosing those we can use repeatedly instead.
Recycle – sorting and processing of waste for recycling.
Rot – resource composting.
And what can zero waste mean in your workplace? There are many modern companies that manage resources and processes them 100% effectively in order to optimize waste output. More and more offices and factories constantly reduce the volume of waste and recycle all resources that are possible to be recycled. Zero waste at work also means effective planning and purchasing only necessary materials. It’s much better to invest exclusively in high-quality products, isn’t it? But, it is all in regard of a workplace. The good news is that you can implement the zero waste principles also in your home office. It is a great chance to work on your daily habits.
In fact, you can do a lot to save the planet, even if you work from home. Think a bit about what you can improve. Most probably you could identify some areas immediately, trust us. What are the simplest things to start from?
Do you keep your laptop on around the clock? It’s a huge mistake! You should always turn it off once you stop working. Don’t use a screensaver and try not to forget about disconnecting the charger and other appliances from the plug when you don’t use them. Once you start unplugging the charger as soon as your battery is full, you will quickly notice a difference in your electricity bills. If possible, give up using disposable batteries and choose the rechargeable ones instead. If you want to live an eco life, don’t buy new electronic devices as soon as new models appear on the market. Electro-waste is a huge problem nowadays. If your old smartphone or laptop still does its job, why replace it with a new one?
Using energy-saving bulbs pays off in the long term. It also complies with health and safety principles. The most eco choice is now LED bulbs. They emit very little heat and no UV radiation. On top of investing in bulbs, try to use daylight as long as possible. That reduces entirely the need of using any artificial light source.
Bottled water is a nightmare of our times. We all know that plastic is an eco-disaster so it’s time to say no to plastic bottles! Tap water is just as healthy. If you want to be completely sure it’s safe, you may purchase a filter or even install a device that makes the water sparkling. It’s both eco-friendly and economical. While talking about plastic, don’t forget about sorting waste!
A laptop, a smartphone and other devices have a negative impact on the quality of air, that’s a fact. This is why on top of frequent airing, you could consider buying yourself natural protection – a plant that will improve the quality of air in your house (there are many Facebook groups and apps like Plantswapp that enable people to exchange plants). The most often chosen plants are Pteroflower, Ivy, Epipremnum, Herbaceous, Ficus, Sansevieria or Tetera.
Try to print only those materials that are absolutely necessary. Switch to e-invoices if possible. Instead of printing, send documents, presentations and texts via email in digital form. You will do something good for the planet and save money at the same time.
Buy only the essentials – this will help to reduce the production of plastic. Use office supplies as long as possible. Sort your waste into five groups. Proper sorting and recycling prevent landfills from overfilling and reduce the consumption of natural resources. For example, when you sort paper waste properly, you make it reusable in the future.
As already stated above, it’s not a choice, it’s a must, if we want to save our planet. Why?
Not only are climate changes dangerous to people, but they are also extremely dangerous to vulnerable wild animals. They cause the extinction of e.g. bees and they are also a main factor that causes deforestation of huge areas. Every single decision we make, including the little ones like tightening the tap, affects the pace of environmental degradation. Changing your little habits and promoting ecological awareness may have a real impact on whether we, animals and plants will survive and breathe clean air.
Living a zero-waste life also affects your own health. Choosing a bike or public transportation instead of a car undoubtedly improves the quality of the air we breathe. Another benefit of restraining from using a car is that you can lose some weight. You should also follow a healthy, balanced diet and avoid buying too much food.
Being eco pays dividends! Small changes often generate big savings. Each energy-saving bulb and every charger unplugged on time is a saving in your pocket. Also, energy-efficient electronic devices, although usually quite expensive, are an investment that will bring you profits in the future.
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