There’s no denying that sustainability has become a hot topic over the past decade. Research points to human-based activities and emissions as the sole cause behind climate change trends since 1950. For the most part, companies play a more significant role than individuals. While full-fledged sustainability isn’t easy to achieve, you can make positive changes as a business to support the environment. From product materials to shipping habits, your company has an opportunity to make a difference. Take a look at where to begin.
1. Switch to a Cloud-Based System
How many paper documents do you have scattered around your office? It can be tough to change your habits, but Americans generate nearly 70 million tons of paper in a year. If you choose a paperless system instead, you can cut back on waste and be much more organized.
Do your best to move whatever records you can into a secure online database. It’ll be a helpful way for your employees to navigate reports, bills and more with ease. Plus, your customers will be able to receive their receipts via email. When you do buy paper, you should look for products made from recycled materials.
2. Offer Recycling and Composting Bins
Obviously, you can’t expect your employees to be more sustainable unless they have the proper resources. If your office doesn’t already have recycling bins, you should place several throughout the space. It may also be helpful to introduce composting bins in the break room.
This effort will allow your workers to throw away their waste responsibly.
3. Explore New Product Materials
If your business sells products, you need to choose sustainable materials from top to bottom. Packaging makes up one-third of total waste in the United States, which means your decisions directly contribute to trash accumulation. Even small changes matter, so you can start as slowly as you want.
Try to set aside some time where you can analyze your current processes. What can you do to improve how you make your products? Look for materials that have limited environmental impacts. It’ll take time to find options that suit your needs and budget, but you’ll make a positive difference as a result.
4. Look Into Eco-Friendly Shipping
There are tricks to ship products in a greener way. As a business, your first goal should be to internalize the phrase “less is more.” Here are a few changes to make:
- Don’t include bubblewrap or tissue unless the item is fragile.
- Use the proper box size for every product.
- Choose biodegradable and recyclable shipping supplies.
- Avoid the “Russian Doll” method, which places a small box in a larger box.
- Offer discounts for bulk orders so you can consolidate deliveries.
This way, you can eliminate unnecessary waste, which also helps save money in the long run.
5. Reduce Employees’ Commute Times
Today, most vehicles release tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. If you have 50 employees who drive to and from work, you can see how that creates a problem for the planet. It’s not always possible to stop driving, especially when you’re in a rural location — but solutions still exist.
Create a carpool group amongst your workforce. This way, you can reduce how many cars are on the road. It’s also a smart trick to help employees get to know one another. If your area has public transportation, you could offer monthly passes as a benefit.
6. Pick LED Bulbs
Here’s a simple way to cut back on energy usage. As far as lightbulbs go, LEDs are much more efficient than incandescents. These options also last longer, which means you won’t have to worry about replacements so often. Set aside a portion of your budget for LEDs to reduce your office’s consumption.
7. Offer Reusable Plates and Glasses
There are significant issues associated with plastic waste, especially in regard to ocean pollution. If you throw a plastic water bottle in the trash, you won’t think twice — but that very container can quickly end up in a river and subsequently affect marine life. These objects don’t biodegrade, so they exist forever.
If your office has a break room, you should offer reusable plates, glasses and other items employees can use for lunch and snacks. This trick will help them avoid single-use plastic when they sit down to eat or grab a quick coffee. It’s easy to find inexpensive, well-made dishes and cutlery at thrift stores, so you don’t have to spend much money here.
8. Update Company Policies
While you can implement sustainable business practices left and right, you should keep in mind that they don’t matter unless you change your company’s policies. Culture plays a role in how well your actions stick. If you don’t emphasize an eco-friendly mindset as a workforce, your goals may not resonate in the future.
Try These Tips to Become an Eco-Friendly Company
A sustainable company can take years to achieve. However, you have to start somewhere. If you want to explore ways to make your business more eco-friendly, you can begin with various simple practices. Even the most minor changes will be beneficial.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.