Recycling Lives carried out a survey that found over 80% of consumers want to buy from a sustainable brand or with green policies in place. But with only a third of UK firms having sustainable policies, there is a long way to go before all companies get on board with the green initiative and make the changes they need to meet consumer demand and an ever-increasing need to address the impact each individual has on the environment.
If you, as a business, are looking to “go green”, what exactly do you need to do, and how can you make positive changes?
You need to start off by researching the greener options for your way of working. Becoming more sustainable as an office is different than it would be for a retail store, which would vastly differ from a construction site or mechanics, for example. So start by looking for the different options available for your business, the types of changes you can make and how it would impact how you work.
Talk to suppliers
A great way to get started on your sustainable journey is to talk to your suppliers and see if they have any eco-friendly initiatives running. If they do follow sustainable practices, then you can lean on this to give you a boost. Maybe they don’t use plastic to wrap their products in, or perhaps they only use recycled materials? Whatever they do or don’t do, as the case may be, will impact you and your efforts, so always talk to them to get a better idea of how they operate.
You can recycle a lot more than you think you can. It isn’t just paper and cardboard you can recycle these days. Talk to the company that disposes of your waste and ask about their options for recycling so you can split your waste and ensure everything that can be recycled is recycled. And then look into your different options for further recycling. Whether this is choosing to recycle old electronics, booking a Waste Oil Collection so your oil can be recycled, or deciding to forgo packing and only use refillable supplies to cut down on waste or plastic usage.
Cut back on energy and resources
It makes sense that the less you use, the more eco-friendly your business will be. So, finding ways you can cut back can be highly beneficial. This means using less energy by ensuring that no lights are left on in empty rooms; switching to motion sensor lighting if you can, heating and cooling systems are turned off after working hours, or the temperature is lower to consume less energy, all plug sockets are turned off when not needed. Open windows to allow cool air rather than turning the AC on, make sure all appliances are energy efficient and well maintained; those needing repairs will use more power to perform essential functions and aim to cut down on your water usage or use a water butt to collect rainwater.
When it comes to resources, going fully digital means, you can do away with using paper pretty much altogether; changing your packing sizes can reduce waste packaging, as can switching from plastic air-filled inserts for product protection to biodegradable packing peanuts and materials. There are many ways you can make within your industry to help you be more sustainable and reduce your impact on the environment.
Get staff on board
If your entire staff isn’t on board with your sustainable efforts, you are fighting a losing battle. You need everyone to be making an effort to make the changes alongside you. You can implement new policies and procedures and work with new suppliers, but the effort will be wasted if your staff aren’t helping you follow through. So talk to them, explain what changes you are making and why and work with them to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and what they need to do to help your business become more eco-friendly.
There is a real need for businesses to get on board with sustainable practices within their operations. Thankfully, these days, there are more options than ever for companies to make the right swaps, and more eco-friendly services and products exist to help you transition smoothly from what you are doing now to where you want to be. However, try not to rush the process, take your time, implement small changes one by one to ensure they’re effective, work how you expect them to and make changes you can stick with for the long term.