Most businesses these days will have some sort of environmental policy to demonstrate to their customers that they are thinking of the environment with their large scale buying choices. On a day to day basis however, there is more that can be done from within your office or warehouse. Some of these you may already have in place but hopefully some of them will be new ideas that could help to make a big difference.
Encourage good practises within your workplace:
– Carpooling, do you have employees that live close to one another? Encourage them to lift share. If everyone did this there would be less cars on the road and less fossil fuels being used up.
– Offer the cycle to work scheme. Get your company involved in the governments cycle to work scheme and get more people out of their cars!
– Shut down machines and computers at night, do not leave things on standby as this uses a lot of energy. Don’t forget those office TVs and printers, turning them off at the plug can save a lot of energy.
– Don’t just have a general waste bin but try and have your staff use different bins for the products that can be recycled. This will depend on the waste management options in your area but just think about how much goes into landfill each year that doesn’t need to.
– Thermostat control, this is not just for those cold days but when it is hot as well. Try to only use the air conditioner when it is so hot that having a window open or fan on doesn’t cool things down. Equally only turn the heating up/on once staff are dressed appropriately for the colder weather or after you have tried closing the curtains or blinds.
– Try and choose train journeys over driving. Although trains can be the more expensive option, if you book in advance you can save money and help use less fuel. This also means that your staff can get more work done as they travel!
– Try to combine meetings. Try to group your client/customer meetings by their locations so that you can save on fuel/travel.
– Choose a hotel with a good environmental policy. There are hotels that now have an energy and water efficiency goal at their heart. If possible, look into which hotels in the area have policies which mean they have less of an environmental impact.
If you supply your staff with food and beverages, then think local if possible. Choose a company to supply your staff with lunches (for example) who are not only local to you but who source their ingredients locally and based on what produce is seasonally available. This will help to reduce the carbon footprint of your food.
Consider buying fair trade tea and coffee to help support fair-trading practises.
Choose your products carefully
Recycled paper and refilled ink cartridges for your printers can make a real difference in the long term.
If you can consider:
– Toilets with dual flush to save on water
– Motion activated lighting so minimise the waste of staff leaving lights on
– Low energy lighting options
– Low energy kettles
There is so much waste from packaging and marketing materials, so if your company does or uses either then work to ensure best practises in your purchases. Choose products that are recyclable or environmentally friendly, for example if you have loyalty or plastic membership cards then choose to have them made from environmentally friendly plastic such as PE as opposed to harmful PVC. Or if you send a lot of items for delivery then try to use the smallest possible packaging option. This will not only save on materials but will mean that your delivery service can fit more in, meaning a lower carbon footprint. Also try to make it very clear on any packaging what parts can and should be recycled.
The biggest and longest term changes to help the environment come from changing our habits and buying practises. This is no small feat as most of us have got used to fast gratification and easy solutions when it comes to our purchases. But maybe this is the real problem. If we can try to make your staff and office accountable for the way it uses valuable commodities, be it through company purchases or production then if we are lucky we might help people change their habits and way of thinking, they could even take those new habits home.