As people around the world become more switched on to the need to protect and look after our planet, we all have a responsibility to do our bit. Whether it is small things that we do individually such as reducing our waste or reusing plastic bags, or larger policies set by governments it all makes a difference.
And businesses are no different. There are plenty of green practices that can be put in place which can help the environment, and which, regardless of the size of the business, can make a difference.
With this in mind, here are some green practices which are easy to instil into your business – or the one where you work, which will help us along the path to a greener world…
Follow EPC Advice
All business premises in the UK need to have a commercial energy performance certificate. When the assessment is carried out for it, an inspector will look at the energy-saving measures which are in place and grade the premises accordingly. They will also give recommendations on how the energy efficiency of the building can be improved. By following this advice, you will be able to not only help to reduce the energy that you are using (and wasting) but also reduce energy bills.
Getting to Work
Traffic is one of the biggest contributors to the world’s massive amounts of carbon emissions. By encouraging staff to take the greener option with regards to work, we can begin to make a massive difference. Try to encourage riding bikes or walking to work if possible. If not, using public transport or working from home could also be options. You could also encourage a ‘ride-your-bike-to-work’ day or reward people for car sharing.
Encourage the Re-Use of Cups
There’s no reason why you can’t do away with disposable water and coffee cups. Instead, try to encourage staff to bring in their own – or better still, provide them yourself. You could also try to encourage staff to bring in their own water bottles – for both at work and outside of work. If you have a single-use pod coffee machine, a kettle and tin of coffee could also do the job of keeping caffeine levels topped up – or at least get recyclable pods. If possible, get your milk delivered by a milkman, in a glass bottle instead of buying plastic ones at the supermarket.
Although things are changing slowly, paper is still a big issue in many offices, with post-it notes being King. Try to make your office go as paperless as possible – you can use messenger or email to send messages, discourage the printing out of documents and, of course, re-use any paper that you do use.
You should also create an easy paper recycling system – with high availability of paper recycling bins to ensure that no-one has any excuses for not using them.
Source Sustainable Goods
From pens to paper to computers to more specific items that you use every day in your business, try to be conscious about the sustainability of everything that you buy. Recycled paper is a great place to start. If you can, task someone with going through everything that you buy in to check that you are getting the greenest items that are possible for your budget.
Packaging is another area where there is a lot of waste created. If you are ordering things, try to order in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging which is used.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
It’s not just paper that can be recycled. Try to recycle as much as you possibly can – in much the same way as you should do at home. It might cost more to have your recycling picked up but the planet will thank you. Think about recycling paper and cardboard, plastic, food, glass and metal – and don’t forget electronic goods.
Turn Everything Off at Night
Computers, photocopiers and other office equipment don’t always need to be left on overnight. Just by not turning it off properly or at the plug you are using almost as much energy as you would if you had it left on. This is a lot of wasted energy and again, turning these off is not only good for the environment but will also save you money in energy bills.
Try to get everybody into the habit of turning off computers and other equipment fully when they leave at the end of the day – and don’t forget the lights!
Making your business greener is an important thing to do – and on a basic level, very easy. By changing just a few things in the attitude of your staff and office culture you can go a long way in your business playing its part in saving the planet.
Article by Ella Hendrix ella.hendrix@sharetwen
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