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Sustainability in the workplace

Sustainability in the workplace

Being sustainable in our everyday lives is more important than ever! Once you arrive at your placement, there are plenty of ways in which you can affect and encourage sustainability. As an employee, you can get involved in conserving resources, working sustainably, taking initiatives, and influencing an organisation's practices. Whether or not your employer has introduced programmes that address environmental concerns, you can still adopt and initiate behaviours that contribute to reducing carbon energy, water usage and material wastage in general.

Read the list below for some of the things you could take into consideration regarding sustainability whilst on placement (you’re probably doing a lot of them already): 

  • Recycle within the workplace - this includes plastic, paper, and cardboard
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and bag, in case you unexpectedly go shopping- no plastic bag needed!
  • Keep printing to a minimum- don’t waste paper, keep things digital
  • Print double-sided if you really need a paper copy
  • Shut down your computer at night
  • Switch off lights when leaving a room or work at night
  • Don’t leave taps running
  • Make hot drinks together - save water by only boiling the kettle a few times a day
  • Turn down the heating - even if it’s by one degree, you’ll be saving a lot of energy

It may even be possible for you to make the introduction of a sustainability programme one of your objectives during your placement, something proactive that you can evidence to show that you have used your initiative. You can discuss this with your tutors at Hallam and line managers at your placement.

Once you've been accepted on your placement, you'll need to sort out how you get to and from your new place of work. You should think about the most sustainable methods of transport when considering your options. Remember, road traffic is a significant and growing source of many of the nastiest pollutants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carcinogenic particles, as well as excess noise. If it's practical and safe for you to walk or cycle to work, you'll not only save money on travel, but you’ll also be promoting your health and well-being, as well as taking a responsible approach to environmental concerns.

The use of public transport contributes to a reduction in the emissions and congestion created by single-occupancy car journeys. Remember, your SHU card entitles you to cheaper bus fares in Sheffield and elsewhere, it's usually possible to find savings on weekly and monthly tickets or travel passes – it’s worth doing some research into how this might help you on your journey to work.

If you find that driving to your place of work is unavoidable, perhaps due to a lack of public transport in the area, consider car-sharing. Either take turns driving, or chip in for fuel if there's just one person with a car.

Sheffield Hallam itself is working hard to achieve very necessary zero carbon targets towards tackling the climate emergency and it would be great to mirror that commitment when you are working in your placement as a Hallam student.

More information on what we are doing as a University to manage our environmental impacts can be found on our sustainability page.

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