Energy saving bulbs are becoming much more common, but if you’re still using regular incandescent bulbs, it’s time to get them replaced. Sadly, traditional bulbs can’t be recycled, but all your future energy saving ones can be – and they’ll lower your future bills and environmental impact at the same time!
If your workplace uses a lot of computers, consider switching to laptops where possible. Laptops use significantly less power compared to a PC – up to 80% less! However, many businesses need to use programs that use a lot of memory such as photo or video editing software, and laptops that can handle this come at a massive cost and will rarely be as good a high performance PC. In this case, switching to laptops isn’t a reasonable solution, but you can switch to monitors that are designed to use less power. Of course, getting rid of your current set up and buying all new laptops and monitors is a big drain on your budget, so start by only investing in the lower energy options when future needs for new computers arise.
Enforce policies about switching equipment off when not in use. For example, make it a rule that if employees are away from their computer for more than 15 minutes it has to be totally shut off and not on standby. Change computer settings so monitors turn off – not switch to screensaver – after a period of inactivity. Only turn lights on if needed and turn them off when leaving a room, and look into using motion sensor lights in low traffic areas like corridors so it won’t matter if people do forget. These can seem like common sense habits, but in the daily work rush, it’s easy to let simple things slip your mind. By leaving reminders around the office and on doors, and automating where possible, it’ll be easier to cut costs.
Choose eco-friendly products
Choosing products made from recycled or biodegradable material helps reduce the amount of new material needed to create new products. Your regular office supplies can easily be swapped for more eco-friendly versions. Choosing recycled paper for your (hopefully now reduced) printing needs is another great way to reduce paper waste, as is choosing recycled notebooks, which you can have your logo and branding printed onto!
Pens and pencils are another common recycled product, and these can also be branded for use in the office or as a small giveaway to customers to promote your company’s eco-friendly ideology. Other possible giveaway and office products include coasters, lanyards, flash drives, and rulers, so you can stock your whole office with recycled supplies.
Encourage alternative transport
Transport is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. While individual cars generally product a small amount of air pollution if looked after properly, the volume of cars on the road is having a large impact on air quality in the UK, so promote alternative ways to get to work within your business to help reduce the amount of cars out in rush hour.
Set up a ride share scheme to help employees get to work without using multiple cars. Create a table that allows your employees to fill in their route and what time they set off so people can easily find others who share a similar schedule. As a bonus, this could open up dialogue between employees who perhaps don’t get to talk as often, creating a more cohesive work environment.
To help completely remove cars off the road, look for ways to make cycling to work easier. Make sure there’s space for bikes to be kept safely during the day, or find a way to implement this, whether it’s installing bike stands outside the office or locating nearby bike lockers. Keep your employees safe on their journeys with branded reflective clothing and bike repair kits.
Finally, throw walk to work days in the office. National Walk to Work Day was on the 6th of April, and will be held on a similar date in 2019, but you don’t have to wait for an awareness day to make your own event. When the weather’s nice, make them a monthly affair and offer snacks for when people get into the office - some people may challenge themselves to a walk that’s several miles long, which is no mean feat on an early morning!
What steps will you take?
So, to wrap up, here are the areas of your business you need to overhaul now:
- Reduce your plastic waste with recycling and reusable products in the workplace.
- Replace paper with digital documents where possible.
- Use less power.
- Buy products made with eco-friendly materials.
- Make alternative transport an easy option for your employees.
With a little work and some minor changes, your business can become more environmentally friendly without stripping everything back to square one. You can make your changes more official with an environmental policy for you and your employees to refer to, and make your eco-friendly ideology part of your brand to attract customers.