We all know we could, and should, be doing more for the environment. Businesses can make changes ranging from small ones, like the kind of light bulbs you use, through to large ones, such as the way you ship goods internationally. Here’s our guide to some of the easier ways you can make a difference and maybe even gain a competitive advantage.
Appointing a ‘green leader’ or green team can help to generate eco-friendly ideas specific to your business and industry. Rather than taking ideas that might not quite fit your profile, a green leader can identify gaps and issues with the unique way your business runs and generate appropriate solutions.
Larger businesses can appoint green leaders in each department/division/location, and they can come together to brainstorm ideas that will work across the company. These teams or leaders can also introduce green challenges, introducing an element of competition between departments, or a prize for making the biggest positive impact.
Any type of business can move to using greener products, with very little impact on operations. It could be as simple as changing to recyclable or refillable pens and LED light bulbs or making sure the packaging you use is recycled and/or recyclable. Even items like bins, spill control products and pallets can be sourced with more ecological awareness, for example by making use of recycled materials in their construction.
Green cleaning products are ones that replace harmful toxins and non-sustainable ingredients for those with no harmful impact on people or the environment. These products are usually priced similarly to less ecologically friendly ones so you really just need to check what is in the products you buy for cleaning and make greener choices as necessary.
Probably the most obvious way to go green, managing waste can have a big impact. Installing recycle bins around the business makes it easier to ensure that your waste is dealt with in the best way possible – paper bins by printers and desks, glass/plastic/card/food bins in the break room, plastic bins for packaging in the warehouse, etc, are all very cost-effective, environmentally aware measures.
This is often overlooked, but electronics can be recycled too. You can look into reselling your used equipment and explore manufacturer or retailer recycling schemes – you can frequently get money off your new kit by trading in your old.
Where possible, businesses should encourage cycling or walking to work. This can be achieved by installing and maintaining cycle-racks and shelters – places where people (customers and staff alike) can feel confident in parking their bikes for the duration of their shifts/visits. Also, consider improving external lighting so people feel more comfortable and secure walking between your entrance and your cycle racks.
Both the packaging you use and the packaging that your suppliers send to you can be made more ecologically friendly. Where possible, buy from green suppliers who have optimised their packaging for green purposes, eliminating non-recyclables and wasted materials – and adopt those same practices in your own packing methods.
Along with using things like LED lighting, so-called ‘smart’ devices can save you money and reduce your environmental impact. Smart thermostats can ensure your heating is greener; and even things like light sensors can help, by switching off your lights when the ambient light is high enough or when no movement has been detected for a specific period.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk