Now is the time to overhaul how your business approaches environmental issues. After the success of the plastic bag charge, new potential policies for saving our planet are announced in the UK all the time, and the buzz on social media with each ground-breaking idea cannot be ignored. Not only will your business be taking steps to help the environment, your brand will be seen more favourably by potential customers, a positive perception you can’t miss out on. So what could possibly stop you?
A massive revamp isn’t always on the tables. Whether it’s budget constraints, limited space, or time that simply can’t be allotted to big changes, it’s understandable that not all businesses can power themselves entirely with solar panels or furnish a whole office with only reclaimed wood. However, all companies can make small and effective changes that benefit the environment and their brand. From going completely digital to promoting cycling, here are five simple ways you can be a more environmentally friendly business.
Break the disposable plastic habit
One of the biggest environmental issues in the UK is our plastic waste. The news today paints a tragic picture. The shape of the River Thames has been changed by 5000 flushed away wet wipes, which contain plastic and are heavy enough to float to the bottom of the water and pile up. Cotton buds are being ingested by marine life as they can’t distinguish them from food. Millions of plastic bottles aren’t being recycled in Britain every year. Cutting down your business’s plastic waste is one of the most important steps to start with.
When the workday is busy, it’s tempting for people to stay at their workstations and chuck everything in one bin. It’s an understandable habit when under tight deadlines, so if you haven’t already, set up easy to access recycling bins in the workplace to encourage responsible disposal of day-to-day rubbish. For greater convenience, hang signs above the bin showing what common products can and can’t be recycled by your local council to save time on checking packaging and looking it up online.
Replacing disposable plastic products with reusable options is another way of reducing waste. Give your employees branded reusable bottles and shopping bags to promote eco-friendly practices outside the office as well! Branded bags and water bottles are incredibly popular promotional products as they allow your business to reduce waste and increase brand exposure at the same time. Help your employees cut down on buying bottles on water from the shop on the way to work by giving everyone their own reusable bottle to fill up at home and in the office. If bottles of fizzy drinks are just too tempting, then a canvas bag will give them an alternative to buying a plastic bag, and you can be assured drinks will recycled in your brand new mini recycling plant.
Save the planet and save on coffee money!
Going through sheets and sheets of paper is a common practice in many workplaces as we print and file away endless forms, invoices, reports, and more. The problem is that wasting paper contributes to the worldwide crisis of deforestation, which effects the environment and destroys the homes of over 1 billion people, and is threatening the existence of many species of animals.
While this massive problem can’t be solved by your business alone, implementing small changes is a great way to encourage your employees rethink how paper is used and wasted, meaning your business is at least limiting the impact you have on the environment and you'll be leading by example.
Implement a policy of keeping as many files as possible on the computer and thinking before printing. Provide employees with USBs, hard drives and cloud space to backup important documents and create a system for saving and naming files so they're easy to locate. There are also many note-taking programs available on computers, tablets and phones which offer benefits that physical notebooks don’t have, such as adding hyperlinks and screenshots, making them perfect for meetings. And if you do need to print, use both sides of paper where possible, and recycle any paper you need to throw away.
Another huge contributor to paper waste is disposable paper cups. The solution? Get branded reusable coffee cups for you and your employees, which can save you money in several major cafes as they reduce the price of your coffee if you ditch the disposable cup. Personalise them for your employees and make your branding clear so your brand will get exposure when the cups are taken out and about. It’s another fantastic way to reduce waste and promote your brand.
Next page: three more small environmental overhauls for your business.