There are many things that businesses can do to reduce their impact on the environment. Apart from the fundamental positive impact it will have on the environment, there are also benefits to your individual business to go more ‘green’. Such benefits include:
- Reducing costs (see our points below to find out how!);
- Improve the sustainability of your business by being less dependent on natural resources than your competitors. This will enable your business to be better equipped to handle rising costs due to climate change and therefore a greater chance of long-term success; and
- It can improve your corporate image. Good practice can attract new customers and also help to attract and retain staff.
- SWITCH OFF
Living in the twenty-first century, it is common for many offices to be dependent on a day to day basis of electrical equipment. It is time to turn off your computers, printers, photocopiers, lighting and any other none essential equipment that doesn’t need to be left on at the end of each day. Studies show that by simply leaving your computer monitor on overnight you are wasting the equivalent of 800 laser printed A4 pages, per computer!
Switching off can make a huge difference to a business’ carbon footprint whilst saving your business money on the electricity bill. Don’t forget about changing your light bulbs to energy saving, fluorescent bulbs as these too can make a big impact for when you do need those lights on.
- REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Starting to go green begins with taking the time to really think about everything we use. From asking yourself if you really need disposable cups at the water cooler to whether or not you can print on both sides of the paper. By thinking about what you use you will be able to:
- avoid using materials unnecessarily;
- reduce your paper needs by asking staff to print double-sided where possible;
- reuse by encouraging staff to use scrap paper for message-taking instead of purchasing message pads;
- recycle by shredding excess paper or inviting staff to take it home for their own use (think kids colouring/painting or even mulch for their compost); and
- Save money!
Good practices can be maintained if you have an organised office which allows staff to easily recycle products when they are finished using the items. One simple idea is to set up a recycling station with labelled bins for collecting paper and cardboard, one for plastics and glass and another for food waste. Taking these easy steps is the best way to set up great practices of recycling options and encouraging an eco-friendly office.
- GO GREEN
Okay so we have set up practices to help us to recycle materials in the office, but what about buying back recycled products to complete the recycling life cycle?
Products made from recycled materials are created using less energy and save extra waste that would typically end up in landfills. Did you know that recycled paper uses up to 50% less energy and 90% less water than paper made from trees?
The next time you need to make a office stationery order be sure to check out:
- Recycled paper,
- Recycled pens and pencils, and
- Recycled light bulbs.
Remember that there are many other green alternatives such as highlighter refills that can be utilised so be sure to check with your stationary company about all the options you have available to you.
Did you know that using less paper not only saves forests, it saves water and electricity, reduces landfill, reduces greenhouse pollution and saves you money. Many offices are now opting to go completely ‘Paperless’ which saves them money on buying paper, ink and any servicing fees on their printers. Whilst this many not be possible for all businesses, cutting down on the amount of paper can make a significant difference. Try utilising double sided printing where possible or storing your documents in the ‘cloud’ (aka, online storage options).
Businesses can encourage staff to take alternative transport into work such as carpooling, walking, cycling and the use of public transport. Having facilities available for staff to park their bikes and shower/freshen up in can be a way to do so. Another option for your business may be for staff to work from home saving on any need of travel.
(Note: We have listed only some of the many ways that your business can reduce their stamp on the environment. For more information, check out this handy guide by the Qld government: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/carbon_management/green_office_guide.pdf)