If you ask any average person if they want to save the environment or stop global warming they will probably reply in the affirmative, that of course they want to make the planet a better place for their children. In fact, many average people are relatively enthusiastic about any opportunity to do something they perceive as being good for the environment or reducing their own carbon footprint. However, sometimes we humans also tend to put things out of our minds, ignoring the vast amounts of trash that we produce or the emissions spewing from the tailpipes of our gas guzzling vehicles.
This may leave you asking what you, as a corporation or employer, can do to capitalize on your employee’s general enthusiasm for going green while also encouraging them to make further efforts towards sustainable living to benefit our planet.
One great way to bring a bit of fun to the workplace while also helping out the planet is through some healthy competition – green competition. Following is a list of ideas for easy and fun green competitions that you can hold in your company to improve moral and do a little something nice for planet Earth. These competitions encourage green behavior, increase awareness about sustainability in business and our personal lives and, well, they are just plain fun!
Battery Recycling Many people do not even realize that traditional disposable batteries can be recycled. Every year Americans throw away nearly two hundred thousand tons of batteries, essentially throwing truckload upon truckload of acid and toxins into our landfills. Hold a competition to see who can collect the most dead batteries for recycling. This will raise awareness that batteries are recyclable, and it’s easy. The person who brings in the most batteries gets a coupon for a week’s worth of Starbucks while the person who collects the least gets to take them all to the recycling center.
Cell Phone and Electronics Recycling We live in a disposable society where we are too quick to simply throw everything away. We fail to realize that not only can old electronics be recycled, they also often contain trace amounts of dangerous substances (like mercury) that should be responsibly disposed of. Challenge your employees to recycle their electronics and those of their family and friends. Do this one by weight – whatever employee brings in the most pounds of electronics gets free cafeteria lunch for a week. The looser gets to find a responsible recycling center that accepts the various electronics.
Reuse Your Lunch Bags Disposable plastic bags are a terrible waste of money, petroleum and landfill space. Challenge your employees to eat lunch more responsibly by reusing their bags. Every day that they bring their sandwich to work in the same plastic bag or bring their lunch in the same paper bag they get a mark with a permanent marker on their bag. At the end of the month the three people who have the most marks on their bags get a free lunch at a local restaurant and an extra half hour lunch period that day.
Ride Your Bike or Carpool to Work Encourage your staff to travel to work responsibly by asking them to ride their bike, take the bus or carpool. This one runs on the honor system; every day people write their name on a list posted in the office if they rode their bike, took the bus or carpooled to work. Give it a month, then reward those who did the best with something fun, perhaps a gift card for a new pair of walking shoes.
Property or Park Clean Up Party Going green can be as simple as throwing away the trash. Help your employees learn the satisfaction that comes with cleaning up the environment by throwing a clean-up party. You can do this at a local park or simply around your building grounds, if they are large enough. Give each person a bag and send them off to pick up the trash. At the end of an hour have a great trash weigh-in. The person whose bag weighs the most gets a free day off! The three people with the lightest bags hike all the bags to the trash.
Save the Trees by Reducing Printing The average American office worker prints up to ten thousand pieces of paper a year, most of which eventually makes its way to landfills. Teach your staff to print smarter by holding a competition. Divide the office into teams, and then assign each team a certain amount of copy paper. At the end of one month whichever team has paper left gets a free lunch. Whatever team has the most paper left gets free lunch for a week.