Going green isn’t a fad. Companies aren’t increasingly implementing green policies and practices simply to keep up with what might mistakenly be viewed as a trivial passing trend.
With a growing knowledge and awareness of how our current behaviours are damaging the environment, more and more businesses are rising to the responsibility of doing something about it.
And going green doesn’t just benefit the world around us.
Companies that cut waste and conserve energy, save money and strengthen their image in the eyes of today’s increasingly eco conscious consumers.
So the benefits reaped by brands by going green are as many and varied as they are important.
But how exactly does a brand go about going green? And how do you ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to move your brand in the right direction?
By cutting back on physical waste
Physical waste is a real problem, and its one that’s getting bigger. Our landfills are swelling and our oceans are awash with plastic. Burying refuse has never made sense from the start, and burning it simply changes the problem from one of waste to one of pollution.
Reducing the amount of waste that we produce, and making efforts to recycle the rest that we do throw out, are therefore two of the best ways to reduce the problems of physical wastage that its accumulation creates.
Paper and plastic are two of the most frequently used and frequently disposed materials in places of work. Both therefore make for great targets when looking to cut back on the physical waste that your brand produces.
By cutting back on paper waste
Email has drastically reduced our paper dependency, but that’s no excuse for paper waste complicacy.
Here are some tips for reducing your paper usage:
- Don’t print unless it’s really necessary and only print the pages of a document that are needed
- Don’t use a bigger piece of paper than is required
- When printing, double sided pages and wider margins both make a single sheet go further
- Share smaller documents by email and larger documents by USB stick where possible instead of printing
- Make sure that work is properly proof read before it’s printed to prevent the need for reprints
Also remember, that almost all paper can be recycled, so make sure that that is what’s happening after it’s thrown away. Only coated papers such as those used for milk cartons, juice boxes and paper coffee cups are non recyclable. So the best advice is to avoid using these altogether.
Lastly, recycled paper is both affordable and widely available, so switching to using it is easy, whatever the nature of your workplace.
By cutting back on plastic waste
Typical workspaces are littered with disposable plastic products and the lifespan of these products is often short. They’re used, chucked, and then replaced by another.
Plastic bottles and cups, printer ink cartridges and refillable pens are some of the worst offenders.
But luckily these products can all be replaced with longer lasting alternatives – disposable pens and ink cartridges can be easily swapped for refillable options, and rather than supplying your water dispensers with disposable plastic bottles and cups, simply provide your staff with washable cups instead.
Product for product, these alternatives will be more expensive, but they’ll last much longer, saving you money in the long run.
Also, when buying plastic products, try to ensure that they’re made from recyclable plastics. And that once they’ve served their use, they find their way to the appropriate recycling throw away bins.
By cutting back on energy waste
Going green means reducing wastage of the non-physical, just as much as reducing wastage of the physical.
And when we say non-physical, we mean energy.
Unfortunately, much of our energy is still produced by burning fossil fuels. Because of this, the more energy that we use, the more pollution we create. And with viable mass production of renewable energies still some way off; this is set to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
We should therefore aim to reduce the amount of energy that we use. Reductions can be achieved in a three main ways.
By cutting waste energy
Sometimes energy is expended completely unnecessarily. Higher bills are all that’s produced by leaving computers on standby over night rather than switching them off. And this doesn’t just go for computers. Any appliance that can be turned off when not in use will save you money and help to cut energy wastage.
Lighting is another area where wastage can easily be reduced. LED bulbs use just a fraction of the energy needed to power traditional bulbs and should definitely be considered if you’re not already using them.
By making energy saving adjustments
An obvious example here is improved insulation. The more heat you can retain in your brand’s premises, the less heat you’ll need to provide it with to keep it warm in the first place, and the less energy will be needed to provide that heat.
By choosing good sources of energy
It’s also worth considering where your energy is coming from.
Some energy providers are much more eco conscious than others, so if going green is an objective you really want to pursue, you should think about switching to a greener provider.
Producing your own energy is also an option that’s worth thinking about.
If possible, installing solar panels on your roof is an excellent way of producing your own, clean, renewable energy. It’s unlikely they’ll cover all your costs, but they’ll definitely help towards reducing your bills.
Schemes exist whereby funding is provided for solar panels in exchange for a cut of the energy that they produce. Panels are expensive, so these schemes are well worth looking into if price is an issue. Remember, too, that like improved insulation, solar panels are a single payment investment that will save you money in the long run.
When going green, it goes without saying that helping to protect the environment should be your first priority. But don’t forget, there are other benefits to be had too.
These are just a few of the many good suggestions to get you started.
But as everyone’s company is different look for a niche or even unique ways in which your brand can make itself greener.
So use your imagination and get on board with making a difference.