How Am I Green While at Work … And Not at Work?

One woman’s journey to promote a lifestyle that is more environmentally responsible and healthy.

By Chrystal Murfitt

What can we do on a very tangible scale that can make differences in our lives? The point of this post: I honestly believe that small, green movements on a daily basis will (and do) contribute to greening the earth on a larger scale. Some of the things that I try to do are as follows, and please feel free to adopt and SUGGEST ideas if you so choose:

“I hope all of the small scale movements are contributing to the larger picture and goals that are at stake.” – Chrystal Murfitt
“I hope all of the small scale movements are contributing to the larger picture and goals that are at stake.” – Chrystal Murfitt

1. I try to motivate myself and our team to bring their own lunch. The reason behind this is to create a healthier and happier workspace. I personally choose to not eat meat, and enjoy sharing my food, recipes and ideas with others. This generates conversations around green eating and the goals of trying to source food locally. Winnipeg (where I live and work) offers an amazing assortment of farmer’s markets in the summer, which allows people to stimulate our local growers economy – and they encourage folks to eat more organic veggies, thus reducing our carbon footprints on a larger scale.

2. During the summer, I will try and ride my bike to work on days when I do not have external meetings. We have schedules for a reason, and that little bit of extra planning on bike days will help me be healthier — and reduce my use of a vehicle.

3. We have a coffee machine at our workplace that uses throwaway coffee containers. The alternative is to use coffee grounds in the re-usable filter container. I choose the latter: It takes a few more seconds to fill and rinse out the container, but the thought of the waste these machines produce is something I’d rather avoid.

4. We have numerous plants around our office space, and I have one on my desk. I think this is a very important method to create greener space and, hopefully on a small scale, generate healthy oxygen.

5. I currently drive to and from work, but I try to not use my vehicle during the weekends. I live in a fairly urban area of the city that allows for the option to walk to the grocery store, and many of the venues that host concerts and entertainment — which leads me to my next point.

6. I recently read that one facet of the ‘happy worker’ demographic are those who choose to live closer to their workplace. Now, that being said, I do understand that this is not possible for everyone whose families and other needs may require living further from the workplace. The reason for a happier outlook is that people who live closer to their workplace have less of a feeling of rushing in the morning to get to the work, and spend less time in transit. Don’t get me wrong, many mornings I enjoy listening to the radio and that downtime before arriving at the office, but I would not enjoy the drive as much if it were an hour long or more. This again, is reducing emissions and, hopefully, creating a brighter outlook on my day.

7. We recycle our paper at the office, and we have recycling available for our plastic products and cans as well. It is a pleasant sight when you see the recycling container is fuller than the garbage can!

I had never thought about these aspects in a distinct format until I asked myself: What is it that we are doing to be greener? I hope all of the small scale movements are contributing to the larger picture and goals that are at stake.

If you have more suggestions, please feel free to respond because I would love to hear them!

Chrystal Murfitt is an office assessment representative for Xerox Canada. She attended the University of Calgary for Communications Studies in Native North America, which allowed the opportunity to work and recreate in the Rockies of Canada and northern Montana. Chrystal thoroughly enjoys hiking, running, snowboarding, camping, the beach and any activity that allows her to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors.

She lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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  1. Debbie Dulewich April 25, 2014 - Reply

    Other Ideas.

    Using refillable water containers and plates and cutlery that are washable instead of paper or styrofoam.

    Banner sheets can be flipped over and used to print things that are for internal office use.

    Recycle keys that are no longer needed. These can be taken to a scrape metal recycling location. Collect from co workers,friends & family any old keys to be recycled.

    Cell phone, iphone, blackberry batteries are recycled.

    I’m sure there many other ideas so put your thinking caps on and see what ideas you come up with.

    • gregpings April 25, 2014 - Reply

      Thanks for the ideas, Debbie. I’m reminded of some tips that Xerox’s chief information security officer shared on recycling cell phones — be sure to wipe your data before you donate or recycle. Here’s an excerpt:

      “But I never donate without first “cleaning” the device beforehand. Everyone should take this same vigilant approach when recycling a mobile phone or tablet. This ensures no matter where the recycled device ends up, you can feel somewhat secure that you have done your best to make sure it contains zero data about you or your company.

      “Here’s how to “clean” the data on your mobile device – do a factory reset. Every mobile phone contains software to do this.
      1. To reset Android: Menu > Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset.
      2. To reset Blackberry: Options > Security Options > General Settings > Menu > Wipe Handheld.
      3. To reset iPhone: Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.
      4. For other phones, you can do an online search on how to reset by using relevant keywords, including the device type and model number.”

  2. Fred N. Murfitt April 25, 2014 - Reply

    Very well done Chrystal More people should practice this.
    You make us proud of you
    Dad & Mom

  3. Lorne Murfitt April 28, 2014 - Reply

    Well done Chrystal! I believe in being green but it is a lifestyle and a lot of people just take the easy route. Even small changes can have a large impact on our environment. Re-use, recycle, reduce our waste, these are important practices to follow. People are so wound up in the fast pace of life a lot of this is ignored! I’am proud to have you for a sister!


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