5 workplace passion projects to green your job

Posted by | June 14, 2018 | How I got my dream job, How to make your job a 'do good' job, Looking for work

It can be hard to get your vegan-leather-shod foot through the FSC-certified-timber door if you don’t have environmental training or experience. From tiny office jungles to staff coffee that doesn’t taste of tears, we’ve got 5 passion projects that will help green your current job  AND help your CV for that future dream green job.

One sure-fire way to show prospective employers that you’re right fit? Start doing the work you love – in the job you do now. No, I’m not suggesting you plant trees by the filing cabinet or set up a kākāpō shelter in the staff room, but there are steps you can take right now to help you get ahead.

Your passion project needs to be good for the environment, your workplace and your CV. Before you take on any passion project, large or small, please consider the amount of work it’ll take, the resources you’ll need, and what sign-off and buy-in you’ll require from managers or colleagues. 

If you’re looking for ideas, here are five fantastic environmental passion projects you can do at your 9-to-5. 

Bike leaning outside. #1 Green your workplace’s commute

Are you passionate about bikes and public transport? Now’s the time to take that enthusiasm and spread it like organic butter on hot sourdough toast. A greener office commute is not only good for the environment, it may also improve your colleagues’ health and wellbeing (and therefore how often they make you coffee).  

There are plenty of ways that workplaces can promote greener transport options. Offer to spearhead the project, and get on board with free and safe bicycle storage, a carpooling spreadsheet to share rides, incentives to travel by bus or train and fuel-efficient company cars.

  • Difficulty: 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾
  • CV potential: ⚡⚡⚡

Recycling bins. #2 Get your workplace waste sorted

Yes, recycling should be our last resort after reducing and reusing, but it can also be a gateway drug to taking other, greener actions. If your workplace doesn’t recycle,  take charge of the situation and get them sorted. Find out about your local waste management services, ask for an estimate and show your manager or colleagues how little recycling could cost. 

If your workplace is already on the recycling train, then look for local composting service or score a Bokashi bucket. 

  • Difficulty: 💪🏾💪🏾
  • CV potential: ⚡⚡

Cup of coffee.#3 Get your goodies where it’s good

Does your workplace provide tea that’s made of tiny tiny violins and coffee that tastes of tears? Cut the unnecessary product pain and make it your project to tackle unethical workplace consumption.

Just be prepared to get your colleagues on board. Take it from me: things can get antsy when you cut off Gerald’s Milo supply with no warning. 

Compare the cost of what your workplace buys now compared with greener alternatives like organic, Fairtrade and B Corp certified.

  • Difficulty: 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾
  • CV potential: ⚡⚡

Light bulb. #4 Save your office power(s)

Energy efficiency saves precious resources and dollar dollar bills… what’s not to love? Get your workplace to sign off a friendly competition between work teams and promote small actions like:

  • Buying new appliances and computers with good energy ratings.
  • Set computers to sleep mode after 15 minutes and don’t use screensavers.
  • Print double-sided and reduce colour printing.
  • Unplug printers, speakers and scanners when they’re not in use.
  • Encourage a change from standard fluros to LEDs when the next light pops.

To encourage participation, make sure you provide a green prize that your colleagues will actually want.

  • Difficulty: 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾
  • CV potential: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

Seedling growing. #5 Put the ‘churr’ back in nature

The more we connect with nature, the more we appreciate it and want to look after it. But studies have also indicated that spending time in nature makes people less stressed, more able to focus and better at remembering things.

Does your workplace have space to create a botanical office oasis? It doesn’t have to be big: anything from a herb garden to a living wall to a rooftop garden will make a difference.

If your workplace isn’t cut out to host a plant paradise, look around for local restoration projects or community gardens. You may be able to kickstart a workplace volunteer or fundraising campaign.

  • Difficulty: 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾
  • CV potential: ⚡⚡⚡

Passion projects? From bikes, waste, coffee, energy-use to tiny office jungles, we’ve got you covered. Have we missed any ideas that could make your heart sing and your CV strong? Let us know in a comment below. 

Header image by jose aljovin on Unsplash. All other images also via Unsplash.

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