Spreading sustainability this Holiday Season
Here are some last minute Green Christmas party tips to execute a memorable, unique and sustainable holiday season at the office. Remember to keep it simple, keep it convenient, keep it local, and keep well.
It is a stressful time of year! There is yearend office work to do, holiday obligations to manage, and then battle inclement winter weather that we have here in Canada, and in the Northern United States. Buffalo, New York office workers experienced these winter challenges a few weeks ago as they tried to work through one of their biggest snow storms in history; right before their Thanksgiving holiday.
Ease the stress of the holiday season, by keeping your office party planning simple and convenient. Keeping your purchases local helps to support the local economy, but also helps keep the environmental impact to a minimum.
We at Envirotech Office Systems wish everyone a very GREEN and Sustainable Holiday season; for this year, and many years to come.
GREEN Office Party Tips for the Holiday Season
GREEN Holiday Decorations
Use big, bold decorations that add a splash of colour. Poinsettias in the reception area, on top of a low filing storage cabinet, or along a deep window ledge can brighten up an office. Green boughs with LED lights offer a bit of holiday greenery and sparkle. The LED lights do not pull a lot of energy. Make sure to put any of your Christmas lights on a timer so that they will turn off automatically at night and on weekends. Most offices close Christmas Eve and stay closed for a few days, so what do you do with all your live holiday plants? Give what you can to your staff to take home, and then consider donating the rest to a local community group, charity, or retirement home. Make sure to contact the charity early in December to see if they have space for the plants.
If you don’t have time to decorate, but you want a GREEN Christmas at the office, decorate with live plant arrangements or get a live Christmas tree for the office. Research shows that a live tree is still the more sustainable choice. Some nurseries offer corporate programs to help with ideas and planning. They will bring in live Christmas arrangements to suit your office design and style, and then take them away after the holidays.
Keep Food Local
Look for caterers and restaurants that serve local fare. Buying local supports the local economy, and because the food doesn’t have as far to travel to get to your table, it lowers the impact to the environment.
Email your invitations! The thought of sending out hand-written invitations is nice, but that takes time and is an extra cost. It is expensive, but traditional mailing methods have a significant environmental impact on our environment. Digital communication is the greener choice for communications. An email is easy to send to a large number of, people can reply right away, and it is easy to keep track of the RSVPs.
ReUse, Compost or Recycle – Dishes & Food
Will your office party have real dishes that can be washed and reused? Or will you choose the most convenient route and have ‘disposable’ dishes and utensils. If you hire a caterer or at a restaurant, you can usually count on real cutlery, plates and glasses. But at the office that is not always convenient or possible. If you have to use disposable dishes and cutlery, look for paper plates and cups that can be composted, and make sure to recycle any cans or bottles that are used. Set up clearly marked bins saying what is to go where, and have a designated person(s) at the end of the day to make sure they are disposed of properly. See if you can make a GREEN challenge to your staff! See how little garbage you create during the office party! Recycle, Compost or Reuse!
No more Secret “Dollar Store” Santa gifts. Why not get something people can use and enjoy so that it doesn’t go directly into our landfill after the holidays. How about a basket filled with fruit, veggies or nuts. Always make sure to consider food allergies or intolerances when buying consumable gifts for people. Buy a gift from a local artisan, tickets to a hockey game or cultural event, or put together a few of your favourite recipes and print them out on recycled paper. For those people on your list who prefer an alternative commute to work, consider a gift of transit tokens, trendy hat and mitt set, a bike shop tune-up certificate, or a car share pass.
Think GREEN when you wrap your gift! Consider using recycled paper, old newspaper with a ribbon of twine, or a reusable shopping bag wrapped in a colourful fabric ribbon.
Slow Down, Connect with the Reason for the Season, Connect with Others. Remember to eat and drink in moderation. Enjoy the treats, but take one or two, rather than too much that leads to guilt at the end of the holidays. Losing weight is the top ranked New Years’ resolution, but only 8% are successful in achieving it.