Making your business more sustainable is not just beneficial to our planet, but can also save you money and make life a little better for your employees. In fact, many eco-friendly choices are a win-win, a win for the planet and a win for your business! We’ve put together a list of easy options to make your business more sustainable as well as save you time, money and effort in the long run.
1. Think about your packaging
Packaging is absolutely crucial for so many businesses, and yet this is something that often goes overlooked in a sustainability point of view. Scope 3 emissions are emissions that are indirectly created by a company’s supply chain. These can represent 80-97% of emissions created by a company!
Cardboard boxes have a reputation for being sustainable and not damaging to the planet. This is because they can be recycled and they biodegrade after time. While this is more than we can say for other materials such as plastic, they still have a damaging effect.
Trees must be chopped down, and massive amounts of water, energy and pollution are involved in the making process of cardboard. Furthermore, the recycling process adds even more onto these figures. Even though recycling is better than waste to landfill, it is still not a permanent solution to reaching a circular economy. Cardboard cannot be infinitely recycled; over time the fibres stretch out and the quality decreases. This means there will always be a need to produce more cardboard, meaning more trees being chopped down and more resources being used.
The best solution to reach a circular economy is through reuse! Cardboard is not a single-use item. It is strong and durable and can be reused several times before needing to be recycled.
The Reuseabox model helps companies to reuse cardboard boxes on a large scale. We buy once used cardboard boxes originally meant for the waste stream and sell them on for a discounted price. Choosing to buy once used boxes can make your business more sustainable by dramatically reducing your impact on the environment, saving trees, water, carbon and energy. Not only is it better for the planet, but it is better for your business too! Because they are once used, there are zero lead times! This means you can get them delivered much faster than if you were to order brand new boxes. As well as this they are cheaper than new boxes, and not subject to the same price increases as new boxes.
2. Aim for zero waste to landfill
As the name suggests, zero waste to landfill is when a business does everything in their power to reduce the amount of waste they produce that would end up in a landfill. This is a great opportunity to set achievable goals as a company and work towards them as a team.
Landfills are not a sustainable method of disposal. As well as creating ugly scenes of human consumption and waste, they are a major source of pollution. By avoiding sending any waste to landfills you will ultimately make your business more sustainable and contribute more to a circular economy.
Another benefit to this includes saving you money! By using products and materials meant for reuse, you save money on single-use items that you would have had to buy lots of. It can also help with your waste management costs and reducing the amount you pay for landfill tax.
Zero waste to landfill begins with waste prevention. The easiest way to not put waste into landfill is to not have any waste to begin with! Think about buying reusable products instead of disposable ones. Offering reusable metal water bottles to all of your employees or using reusable dish cloths and cleaning bottles can be a great start.
Anything you can’t reuse, recycle! Recycling is a good way to make sure things don’t end up in landfill, but that’s not to say it is the best option. Try to reuse and repair as much as you can to avoid wasting water, carbon and energy in the recycling process. With materials that cannot be recycled curb-side, check with your local recycling centre to see if they will take them.
Composting is such an easy way to reduce food waste to landfill. This small difference can make a big impact on our planet. When you throw food waste scraps such as fruit peels and coffee granules into the general waste, this will end up in a landfill where it decays very slowly, letting off harmful greenhouse gases.
Roughly 60% of all household waste can be composted. This is a massive percentage of waste ending up in landfill when there is a better option for it sitting in our backyards. When we compost it allows the materials to break down and decompose aerobically. This means it has access to oxygen, this is how things naturally decompose in nature. In landfill however, the materials have no access to oxygen and they break down anaerobically. This process produces harmful gases such as methane which release into the atmosphere.
By having a company compost bin, you can reduce the food waste of your employees sent to landfill. It will also come in handy! Compost is a great fertiliser for plants and greenery. It promotes healthy plant growth, strengthens the soil and reduces the need for pesticides.
4. Work from home if possible
The tenacious COVID—19 virus created the demand for remote working all across the world. Now in 2022, a lot of companies have embraced hybrid working in order to cater for their employees. It seemed many people preferred a mix of office and home days, instead of just one or the other.
Working from home comes with some obvious environmental benefits. However, it ultimately comes down to the employee’s personal habits as to whether this will greatly reduce their carbon footprint or not.
The first evident factor is commuting. How are you employees getting to work? A long car journey or a route full of traffic is going to be considerably worse for the environment than someone who has just a 5-minute train or bus ride. If your office is in a rural location, you may want to start offering work from home days to dramatically reduce your employee’s carbon footprints before the day has even begun.
Another way working from home can make your business more sustainable is it ultimately produces less waste. Employees who work from home tend to use less waste throughout the day. Compared to buying lunch from a supermarket or grabbing a coffee on their lunch break at the office. This therefore helps reduce individual’s single-use plastic. When at home people usually have lunch and hot drinks with ingredients they already have at home. This means less packaging and maybe even less food waste too.
This isn’t to say that working from home is all sunshine and rainbows. Depending on the time of year, employee’s home insulation and energy consumption, some home set ups could be just as bad for the environment as the office would be. Top tips for employees would be: use renewable energy sources at home, keep lights and heating off in other rooms that you aren’t working in, wrap up warm instead of turning on the heating, and make lunch with food you already have at home.
5. Be energy efficient
Energy efficient upgrades not only make your business more sustainable, they can help save you money too. (I know, more money savings!) By switching to LED light bulbs, using energy efficient appliances, making use of natural light and having great insulation in the office, you can see a dramatic decrease in your energy bill. Other steps require even less effort, such as teaching your employees to turn off any lights, heaters and appliances in rooms no one is using. Turning off your computer during lunch breaks and overnight is another top tip to reducing energy consumption.
If you really want to reduce your energy usage, consider switching to renewables. Having solar panels installed at your office or workplace can reduce electricity bills greatly over time. They are very easy to be installed and require little maintenance.
6. Reduce your paperwork
Ask yourself, does this really need to be printed? According to DocuSign, paper waste makes up the largest part of un-recycled office waste. Similarly to cardboard, the production of paper requires trees being chopped down and large amounts of water, carbon and energy to produce. Cutting down on paper usage and paper waste will again help to make your business more sustainable.
Many documents now can be shared, edited and saved digitally at the workplace, reducing the need for print copies. By having a shared drive for all of your employees, you can all access the same digital documents without the need for printing copies for everyone. Documents can even be signed and dated with the help of technology now. Make use of these when it comes to employment contracts and official documents.
7. Go into business with green business
The companies you choose to operate and partner with make a big difference to your environmental impact. If you choose to do business with corporate giants who are well known for polluting the land, air and seas… you are choosing to play a part in their actions.
If your business supports local companies who are eco-conscious, this will in turn reflect on your own carbon footprint. From website hosts to packaging suppliers, there are many environmentally friendly companies who operate with planet earth in mind. Partnering with these companies can help to make your business more sustainable. It can help to reduce the overall impact your product or service has on the environment.
8. Plant trees
Trees are amazing. They are living machines that clean the air that we breathe, absorbing all of the harmful carbon and releasing oxygen. They also help to cool the planet, house animals and plants and clean the soil around them.
Introducing a tree planting scheme into your business is a great way to make your business more sustainable and take steps towards reaching net zero carbon. Ecologi have a climate positive workforce option. Here you can grow a company forest that balances out the carbon emissions your employees emit. It’s also easy to keep track of how many trees you have planted and how much carbon you have saved.
9. Make the office greener… literally
Adding a green wall filled with plants and vegetation into your office can be beneficial in several ways. Not only does it look amazing, but it can help improve the environmental impact of urban areas, purify the air making a cleaner and healthier work environment for your employees, and can even increase workers productivity.
A green wall can help you save on your energy bills too! Plants can help to absorb heat better than building infrastructure materials, helping to keep the office cool. Contrastingly, they can also offer thermal insulation in cooler weather. This means a green wall can reduce your need for using air con or heating, reducing your energy usage.
10. shop second-hand
Office furniture and appliances don’t have to be brand new. By purchasing second-hand desks, chairs, sofas, microwaves, cabinets, etc. you are eliminating the need for more new items to be produced, which in turn saves energy and raw materials.
As well as this, you are diverting a perfectly good piece of furniture away from the waste stream and helping to keep waste to a landfill to a minimum. Second-hand furniture can often be very good quality and have a beautiful vintage look about it. This not only helps the planet but helps to give your office some style and sophistication.
To summarise, there are many easy habits you can pick up in order to make your business more sustainable, from reusing cardboard to buying second-hand furniture. By adopting these small but mighty changes into your daily work life, you will be helping our planet, and on your way to reaching net zero carbon.
For more information on how to reuse cardboard boxes on a large scale, contact Reuseabox and we can help find the perfect sustainable packaging option for you!