Two hundred Scottish offices to go green this week

Over 200 offices owned by 150 companies are taking part in what Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland have called the country’s largest ever spring clean, with employees surrendering unwanted stationery, so cutting down on their use of resources.

Green Office Action Week, organised by FoE Scotland runs from 18th to the 22nd March, and will involve nearly 78,500 members of the Scottish workforce from companies and organisations such as the Scottish Executive and Scottish Power. A previous Green Office Week involved 120 companies, who saved a total of £18,000.

“It is fantastic so many people and businesses across Scotland will be taking easy, practical actions to green their office practice,” said FoE Green Office Co-ordinator, Jo Heron. “We campaign all year round for a decent environment and it is great to know that so many people support us in this quest. The response to Green Office Action Week has been staggering.”

“As we all know, less waste in the office can help the environment and cut costs to business,” said Heron. “Friends of the Earth Scotland will then evaluate the initiative and calculate the overall saving of all 150 businesses. We welcome the support of the Scottish Executive’s ‘Do a little, change a lot’ campaign.”

The idea behind the scheme is that staff search through their shelves and drawers, emptying out all unused and surplus stationery items into designated Green Office Boxes located throughout the participating office buildings. All items that are collected will be returned to the office stationery cupboard to be used as normal. The items that are most commonly put into the Green Office box are biros, pencils, rubbers, Tippex, file dividers, Pritt Sticks, computer disks, paper clips, staples, plastic wallets, and staplers. However, previously, businesses have also recovered filing cabinets, desks and computers.

Andy Kerr, Scottish Minister for Finance and Public Services, has welcomed the initiative. “Reducing the waste of resources is central to our Greening Government policy,” he said. “We want to hammer home the message that effective waste management is just as much the responsibility of the person creating the waste as those who deal with it.”

All of the Scottish Executive’s offices will be taking part in the scheme, as will a number of the Scottish Parliament’s offices, Scottish Power’s Cathcart office, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, all of Scottish Natural Heritage’s 40 offices, and those of East Ayrshire Council, Heron told edie.

“The office amnesty programme raises awareness and improves staff morale in the organisation,” said a spokesperson for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. “They are very enthusiastic and very much involved in developing the ‘green’ culture. The awareness level among the staff is so high that the last time we achieved savings of £450 in our office supply costs.”

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