When I think about the perfect day to launch a green office initiative, two days come to mind – St. Patrick’s Day and Earth Day. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner so why wait until Earth Day next month? There is no better day to host a go green office party and launch your company’s green office initiative than the original green holiday – St. Patrick’s Day.
Bring Your Green to Work
The ENERGY STAR website features an entire green office program on their website. If there are several employees in your office that want the company to join the green office movement, join forces and create your own green team (PDF). Download the posters and tip cards available on the ENERGY STAR website to help you show your coworkers how easy it is to make eco-friendly changes in the workplace.
The Bring Your Green to Work program helps provide you with the foundation you need to launch the green office initiative. Now, you will need to plan an eco-friendly St. Patrick’s Day office party to announce the plan to your coworkers.
Food and Drink
When planning your go green office party, look for eco-friendly food and drinks. Choose an organic or Fair Trade coffee (don’t forget the Irish cream flavored creamer) and have organic green tea on hand as well. Green beer is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition but since this is an office party, green tea is going to have to suffice.
Check your local agricultural co-op or a small grocery store that sells locally grown food when buying party snacks. According to Sustainable Table, “In the U.S., the average grocery store’s produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator.” That tiny little carrot stick from your local big box grocery store comes with a huge carbon footprint. Purchasing locally grown food helps support your go green statement.
You can forego the typical party streamers and other wasteful paper party supplies but your coworkers will still need plates, napkins and cups. You can go two directions with this – reusable products or biodegradable/recycled products. If you choose reusable plates and cups then you will minimize the waste from the party however you should consider the amount of water (and time) needed to wash the dishes after the party is over.
If you choose to go the non-reusable route, look for products that are biodegradable and/or made from recycled content. Eco Products has a line of plates and bowls made out of sugarcane. The products are biodegradable, microwave and freezer safe, and are made from a renewable product. If you do decide to use recycled paper products, make sure that you have a recycling container on hand so the products can be recycled after the party is over.
Hold an Eco-Challenge
Every party needs to have a game and some prizes. Get together with your Green Team and create an eco-challenge quiz. Come up with five or ten questions about how your coworkers can help create a more eco-friendly office. To save paper, create an electronic survey using either email or an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey. Award the eco-challenge quiz winner one of the choices on my must-read green office books list.
After the fun is over, someone still needs to clean up the mess. Don’t tarnish your new go green spirit with toxic cleaners, use organic or non-toxic cleaning supplies instead. My personal favorite product line is Mrs. Meyer’s; MNN Blogger Matt Hickman wrote a great review of a book by Mrs. Meyer herself.
After reading this article, you should have all the tools you need to host an exciting go green office party on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’ve already launched a green office initiative in your workplace, I’d love to hear how you did it, please leave a comment below.
Photo by Robyn Gallagher