UK workers leave their green credentials at home, study finds

A study of 1,000 UK office workers, commissioned as part of Green Office Week, found that even those of us who are environmentally savvy in our own homes tend to forget our eco-friendly selves when at work.

According to the survey, almost a quarter of office workers print things unnecessarily, despite the many green messages attached to emails and other printables nowadays. What’s worse, a whopping 40% of workers fail to recycle the paper they use, chucking it in their desk bins instead. With 80% of people claiming to recycle waste paper at home, it looks like office workers are only half as eco-friendly during their nine-to-five.

80% of workers surveyed admit to being disappointed by their own company’s lack of green awareness. And, despite a quarter of respondents claiming that they would feel less loyal to an eco-unfriendly company, over 40% have found themselves in hot water for suggesting that green (and often money-saving!) practices be implemented in their place of work.

According to Green Office Week, this list shows the Top 10 Eco-sins…


  1. Chucking away paper rather than recycling it
  2. Not having a recycling bin
  3. Throwing away food packaging
  4. Throwing away cans and cartons
  5. Not printing double-sided
  6. Leaving things on standby
  7. Using non-environmentally-friendly products
  8. Forgetting to turn off the lights when leaving the office
  9. Leaving the heating on and opening windows
  10. Not reusing envelopes or jiffy bags

Recycling Lives has long been an advocate of eco-friendly working practices. As one of the leading commercial recycling companies in the region, we deal with huge quantities of plastics, metals and waste every day, but try to remind our staff that the little things count, too.

We have recycling bins in and around our offices and communal areas, time-activated LED lights to prevent unnecessary energy expenditure and a lights-off policy on evenings and weekends. Our promotional material is available in digital format, and we encourage clients and customers to download our PDF material before requesting paper copies. Similarly, our commercial team take iPads to meetings rather than reams of paper, allowing them to show clients what we’re about without leaving a huge paper trail behind them!

Over the years, we’ve also produced fun eco-tips and downloadable posters for visitors to our website, helping them to save energy by implementing the same eco-friendly procedures that we have in our offices in their own homes.