Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of your Job

Work makes the world go round. Humans putting in time and effort to create amazing things is one of the reasons we have so much abundance in this world.

But the same work we do to create all the cool things many of us on this planet enjoy also contributes to our rapidly decaying environment.

In order to save our planet, we need both systemic and individual change.

This list is compiled from my personal journey to reduce my individual impact, but it can also be used to create corporate policies that encourage a lower environmental impact.

It is still very much a work in progress, as I would like to back up each tip with a source in order to have a better argument as to why we should all be striving for these changes, but, for now, it's a place where I'm developing my thoughts on what I can do personally.

I'm an IT consultant on a travel project, so I'm sure some of the tips make no sense in your job, and I'm likely probably missing a lot of great ideas that don't explicitly apply to my own job. If that's the case, shoot me an email and let me know!

Now, on to the list:

Commuting/Travel

  • Live close enough to walk to work to avoid using motorized transport
  • Live somewhere that allows you to take the bus and light rail to avoid using single occupancy vehicles
  • Drive an electric car (or high MPG car) to reduce gas usage and carbon output
  • Carpool when traveling with other employees to reduce the number of vehicles needed to travel to and from airports
  • Avoid flying as much as possible to reduce carbon emissions

Food

  • Eliminate or reduce your meat consumption to decrease land use and carbon emissions
  • Prefer restaurants who source their food locally to reduce food transportation impact
  • Go to restaurants and eat on their silverware instead of ordering take-out to reduce container waste
  • If you have to order out, choose places with compostable or recyclable containers to reduce contributing to the landfill
  • Bring your own utensils to reduce using single-use utensils
  • Apply condiments at the restaurant or at home to reduce the usage of single-use condiments
  • Carry a water bottle with you to reduce the number of disposable cups
  • Use a coffee mug to reduce the number of disposable cups
  • If you don't have your water bottle or cup, choose compostable or recyclable cups
  • Eat fewer processed foods to reduce the energy put into making food
  • Eat fewer packaged foods to reduce contributing to landfill and recycling

Technology

  • Write efficient code to reduce energy and physical material usage
  • Shut down testing environments outside of business hours to save energy
  • Take good care of your devices so they last longer to reduce the number of devices manufactured
  • Use Linux or other streamlined operating systems when your laptops start getting slow and it will feel like new machine to get more life out of it

Hotels

  • Opt-in to green initiatives at the hotel. Some hotel chains (like Marriott) will even give you bonus points!
  • Hang up towels for use the next day to reduce water and energy usage
  • If there is not green initiative, put up the Do Not Disturb sign when you leave so your room doesn't get cleaned daily
  • Look out for greener hotels who don't use single-use plastics for toiletry supplies
  • Choose hotels close to your destination so you can walk

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