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Quill's Guide to Green Office Breakroom Supplies

Every office needs a place that provides respite from the daily grind, and that is typically the breakroom. Whether too many EOD deadlines are piling up, there’s a creative block for a project, or it’s simply a “case of the Mondays” — employees need to be able to blow off some steam and get away from their workload with some snacks, games, and other amenities.

However, how do we keep the breakroom stocked up and ready for weary workers in an eco-friendly manner? There are a variety of sustainable office supplies that can cut down on overall waste and also save you money. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of easy fixes so you can have your cake and eat it too!

Stock Up Smart

Some of the main breakroom supplies you should get first are the cups, plates, and other kitchenware employees will use when “wining and dining.” Ideally you would go solely with reusable cups and kitchenware (with items such as this fabulous cat mug).

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the most fiscally feasible option, especially if you’re working for a larger company. If disposable is the way you need to go, make sure you’re using sustainable, compostable cups and plates. As for stocking up on food, avoid individual serving containers to cut down on needless packaging materials. It’s better to buy amenities like creamer in larger bottles so there isn’t more trash every time someone wants to lighten up their coffee.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Another very easy way to practice green habits in the breakroom is to put a recycling and compost bin in there. This way you’re not only promoting green habits in the workplace, but at home as well. And with all of the eco-friendly kitchenware you’ve stocked up on there is plenty to recycle.

Get the Right Equipment

There is technology and equipment for office breakrooms that is necessary if you want to create an enjoyable space. However, you want to make sure you’re going for the greenest option. For example, make sure you purchase an energy efficient refrigerator that is Energy Star qualified; this will allow you to supply healthy snacks to workers while minimizing energy costs. And instead of disposable K-Cup® pods, get a coffee pot to actually brew your own coffee. (Bonus: all of the coffee grinds can be put in the compost bins!) For this purpose, check out Quill's selection of beverage machines.

Take a look at our Essential Technology for Office Breakroom Guide for the full list of breakroom technology essentials; just remember to think green when selecting!

Additional Tips

There are also a variety of other ways you can build a green office breakroom beyond just supplies:

  • Unplug electronics like toasters or coffee makers when not in use; even when not in use they can use energy.
  • Even if you go the disposable kitchenware route, encourage employees to bring in their own cups/mugs and have them “donate” to the breakroom supply — this way you can at least provide reusable items as an option.
  • For reusable kitchenware, opt to hand wash dishes instead of springing for a dishwasher. This will save money, energy, and space in the room. And always go for soaps that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and free of other harmful chemicals.
  • Look for green breakroom cleaning supplies — use compostable wipes and naturally derived sprays.

There you have it — a range of green breakroom supplies that you can use to create a more eco-friendly workplace. However, don’t forget to also focus on making your breakroom as enjoyable as possible for employees. Check out our Breakroom Resource Center for plenty of other tips and tricks.

Krista Wolfe is a marketing project manager for where she writes to help small businesses, teachers and healthcare professionals make more informed decisions on office essentials. She also writes on our new community blog, Café Quill, about a wide range of business matters such as leadership, productivity and work-life balancing. Krista lives in Chicago and you can find her on Google+ or LinkedIN.

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