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March Madness: 3 Easy Eco-competitions to Try at Work

We’ve talked before (on a few occasions) about how it can be difficult to get some employees on-board with sustainability. Some workers may have difficulty mustering enthusiasm for new lightbulbs or “greener” cleaning supplies.

Eco-competitions are a great way to generate excitement for a sustainability program. Even better, they tend to be low-cost, though they can still have marked impacts on your company’s environmental footprint. Additionally, increased employee engagement surrounding sustainability can help ensure the success of projects down the road.

In the spirit of March Madness, here are 3 simple competitions you can have at your workplace.

1. Pedometer contest

When it comes to sustainability, employee health is a critical consideration. However weight-loss competitions can often feel invasive, and have a negative connotation. Instead, you can promote worker health through pedometers.

The idea is simple: provide each participating employee with a pedometer; there are numerous inexpensive fully functional pedometers that cost only a few dollars. Then simply have the participants track their steps each day.

The competition can be tailored for your company. Do you want employees to track their steps for a week, and the person with the highest count wins a small prize? Do you want departments to compete against each other, measured by an average number of steps? Do you want this to be ongoing, with a monthly leaderboard? It’s completely up to you! So long as employees are up and moving, this competition is a positive for your organization.

2. Zero-waste contest

Asking someone to go zero-waste is a challenge, and requiring that of an entire business for a set period of time is often not feasible. However, it can make for a fun competition. Ask your employees to log their waste for a day, and give a prize for the person who does the best. This could even be an on-going event, where you see who can be waste-free for the longest period of time.

Here at Sustrana, we challenge everyone to go waste-free around Earth Day. It’s not exactly a competition for us, but we make sure to all write down our stories for how the day went, and then share them with one another. Just that alone creates an engagement about our waste footprint!

3. Meatless Monday recipe contest

Not every competition needs to involve metrics. “Meatless Monday” is an eco-friendly concept due to the high environmental footprint associated with meat production. Basing a competition on eating habits can easily be turned into something fun and raise awareness about environmental impacts of food production.

Ask employees to submit their favorite vegetarian lunch ideas. If you have a cafeteria, perhaps they could suggest an entrée. If not, collect ideas for easy-to-pack lunches. You then can have everyone vote on their favorite recipe, and give prizes to the top two or three employees. To celebrate, encourage everyone to make and bring in the winning lunches on the following Monday.