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Going Back to the Office? These 4 Tips Will Help You Keep Your Sustainable Habits

Going back to the office doesn't have to mean abandoning your sustainable habits! Here's how to make them stick at the workplace.

Written by
Briana Dodson

Over the past year, we've all gotten really comfortable with the idea of working from home. Easy access to the fridge, playing with our pets on lunch breaks, and working in our comfy loungewear... what's not to love?

Working from home has had some positive impacts on the environment as well. It has allowed people to focus on developing sustainable habits, like starting a garden and learning how to compost leftover scraps from dinner. It's even reduced plastic use, as it's made people more likely to cook at home opposed to ordering out.

But going back into the office doesn't mean you have to leave your new sustainable habits behind. We have a few easy tips that can make the transition a breeze.

How to Stick with Your Sustainable Habits

1. Shop Sustainably for Work Attire

As comfy and cute as your loungewear may be (and as much as we want to wear it at all times!), most offices will probably require attire that's slightly more professional. Womp, womp. But adding a few work-appropriate pieces to your wardrobe doesn't have to be stressful or expensive.

Try to be mindful while you shop. Avoid fast fashion that's bad for people and the planet, and try supporting sustainable brands whenever possible. Also check out your local thrift stores for secondhand finds, or look online with places like ThredUp. No matter where you shop, just remember to focus on buying only what you truly need.

2. Bike, Walk, or Take Public Transit

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. That can add up pretty quickly, especially when you're driving to work every day.

If you live in a city where bike lanes and public transit are in great supply, try swapping out your car ride for a nice bike or walk to work. Or, hop on a train or bus to make your travels a little more eco-friendly. If you happen to have friends who work close to you, you could even carpool to avoid driving multiple cars.

3. Pack Your Lunch

The days of planning and prepping your lunches have returned. While being back at the office means no longer being able to head to your kitchen to cook up a quick lunch, you can still get creative by preparing meals ahead of time—including these meatless air fryer recipes or tempeh recipes.

Once you're done prepping, grab some reusable containers and pack it up to bring to work. Doing so keeps you from ordering takeout, which contributes to a lot of plastic pollution. Roughly 44 percent of ocean plastic pollution is linked to takeout containers and drinks. You'll save money and eat heathy, all while protecting the planet in the process.

4. Grab Your Reusable Mug

Almost all of us need our daily caffeine dose (or three—we don't judge!) to get through a busy work day. Working from home allowed people to brew their own favorites, like this cookie butter latte. But good news—you still can when you go back to the office! Simply make it before work and bring it in a reusable mug or tumbler.

No time? No worries. Many coffee shops and chains, Starbucks included, are back to allowing people to bring in their reusable mugs. You can get your coffee on the go, no extra waste included.

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