The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Green In The Workplace - Not My Job

With thanks to ThisWeekinFM Partner AJ Products - the leader in office furniture and equipment
21 August 2019

One in three UK workers say it’s not their responsibility to be environmentally friendly in the workplace as new research reveals there is a gulf between attitudes towards environmental impact in the workplace and at home.

This lack of accountability resulted in a large number of those who responded to the nationwide survey admitting that they paid no consideration to a number of issues that have a significant impact on building facilities and the working environment. 29% said they did not worry about energy consumption as they don’t pick up the bill and 20% that said they cared less about recycling at work as it isn’t their responsibility.



As the survey was conducted by drain cleaning compay, Metro Rod, it is not surprising that questions were weighted to give the firm answers such as 'I don't worry about drains at work as the business pays the repair bill,' which was what 26% of respondents said.

31% admitted that they had done one of the following in the workplace:

  • Flushed wet wipes down the toilet.

  • Poured fat down the drain.

  • Poured uneaten food down the drain.

  • Poured oil down the sink.

  • Poured grease down a drain.


Too busy

In the survey of over 2,200 full-time and part-time workers, 45% said overall responsibility for good environmental practice fell to senior leadership and management teams.

Respondents also reported a range of factors that influence their likelihood of being environmentally friendly in the workplace, with 28% saying they were less likely to take this into consideration when they are busy. A further 20% said they were less likely to be environmentally friendly when tired and 17% said they didn’t bother at work because their actions would make no difference to their employers’ environmental impact.


At home

The research also highlighted the different attitudes that respondents demonstrated towards environmental issues at home compared to the workplace.

While 91% of employees reported engaging in environmentally friendly practices such as recycling in the workplace this was significantly lower than the 99% who engaged in the same practices at home. This 8% drop is the equivalent of 2.6 million of the UK’s 32.54 million workers not acting in an environmentally responsible way at work despite doing so at home. 

Peter Molloy, MD at Metro Rod, said: “When you consider the number of hours we spend in the workplace and the findings we have uncovered, there is significant potential that our collective activity at work has been having an impact on the environment more than we ever previously realised. And this is becoming a major part of a much wider problem.

“A lack of employee responsibility and culpability, if it is not quickly addressed, will continue to have serious consequences for the environment and ultimately for the UK’s infrastructure.”


Environmental impact training

Seemingly exacerbating the problem is a lack of training for employees on the environmental impact that they can have via their actions in the workplace. Four in five respondents reported having never received any environmental impact training at work while nearly half (47%) reported not being involved in shaping their organisation's environmental policies. 


Collective responsibility

Molloy added: “We’re making a serious call for organisations to reinforce the collective responsibility we all have to protect the environment from a business point of view, to ensure our UK workforces are playing their part in future-proofing our local and national eco-systems for many years to come.”

To help create a shift in these patterns, Metro Rod has produced a guide summarising its research findings, which includes top tips on improving workplace environmental responsibility. To download it - Click Here


Picture: With thanks to ThisWeekinFM Partner AJ Products - the leader in office furniture and equipment.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 21 August 2019


Related Articles

First Mile Launches Return & Recycle for Workplaces

Businesses and workplaces throughout the UK can now help to power the circular economy thanks to the launch of First Mile’s Return & Recycle, a low-cost...

 Read Full Article
Harrods’ Facilities Team Achieves Paper Towel Sustainability

Harrods, the Knightsbridge luxury department store, has solved one of its biggest FM challenges by diverting tonnes of its used paper hand towels from general...

 Read Full Article
Survey Reveals Impact of Pandemic on Commercial Recycling

Rubbermaid Commercial Products has published findings from their second Love Recycling study, measuring the pandemic’s effect on commercial waste...

 Read Full Article
Recycling Week 2020 – Together We Recycle

Now in its 17th year, Recycle Week is a celebration and encouragement of recycling – in 2020, WRAP under the Recycle Now brand are thanking people for continued...

 Read Full Article
UKWSL Acquires C&M Waste Management

Waste management broker UKWSL has acquired Kent-based C&M Waste Management. C&M announced on their website: “We have recently become a wholly owned...

 Read Full Article
Don’t Waste It Roundtable Series - Adding Value To The Triple Bottom Line

Welcome to the final part of our Don’t Waste It Roundtable, sponsored by Reconomy. In the last video of this four-part series, the panel discusses how to...

 Read Full Article
Power Rangers - Waste Firms Divert Landfill To Energy

Washroom services operator, the PHS Group has announced a new partnership with Viridor which will divert customer waste from landfill into power generation. As part of...

 Read Full Article
Plastic Is Just The Tip Of The ‘Single Use’ Iceberg

Acting on plastic pollution, companies are on the verge of swapping to other materials with potentially greater environmental consequences, including higher carbon...

 Read Full Article
Recycle Week

September 23-29 is Recycle Week with the theme  Recycling - It’s In Our Own Hands. The organisers state that 2018 was the year that Britain woke up to...

 Read Full Article
PET's Alright - Recyclable Question Answered

In a recent article, ThisWeekinFM applauded ISS for selling bottles and carton of water for charity but questioned whether those receptacles could actually be...

 Read Full Article