Monthly Archives: September 2014

Go Green in the Break Room

Stylish workmates laughing while having coffee togetherFor those who care about the environment, the kitchen is one of the most eco-friendly places in the home. However, in offices, it is often an entirely different story. Employees frequently throw out items without thinking; many businesses allow their cleaners to use harmful chemicals; and, lights stay on all day, even when no one is in the break room. All these factors are hindrances for companies looking to maximize their Class-G online sustainability certification. Fortunately, they are easy to rectify with just a few simple changes.


Polystyrene, the material used to make Styrofoam coffee cups, is incredibly bad for the environment — it is non-biodegradable and, when disposed, can cause the chemical styrene to enter into groundwater. The simple solution for eliminating Styrofoam in the office is to ask employees to bring their own mugs to the office. The company can also purchase a few extra mugs for visitors.

Coffee itself can also be eco-friendly. Office managers should look out for organic, shade-grown coffee, which is free of pesticides and helps protect the rainforest.


Like coffee cups, it is best to have a few utensils and plates in the kitchen that employees can reuse on a daily basis. If the office holds an event and requires extra, disposable products should be made from recycled plastic or a biodegradable material.

Washing Dishes

First of all, it is ideal to purchase an eco-friendly dishwashing soap. This should be biodegradable, non-toxic, and free from petroleum. Next, it is important to teach employees to wash dishes using as little water as possible. The best technique is to soap all the dishes, rinse them together, and then dry dishes with a washable dishtowel rather than disposable paper towels.

Avoid Disposables

Other disposable items in the break room kitchen that can be replaced include disposable mop heads for fabric mops, paper towels for cloths, and paper napkins for fabric ones. If the office does require paper products, these would ideally be unbleached and made from a high content of recycled material.

The break room kitchen is one of the easiest areas of the office to make a difference. Anyone who is serious about acquiring an online sustainability certification might consider implementing the above ideas right away.

Automate the Lights

Most break rooms are empty most of the day. By using inexpensive motion sensors to turn lights on and off, you can cut down on the electricity used on lighting by 80 percent or more.