Sustainability is a major part of many businesses and something that can be incredibly important for almost any industry. Not only can it be a major PR booster and a great selling point for some of your more popular products and services, but it can even save you money in the long term.
Of course, no business can go completely sustainable overnight. Even so, taking a few small steps towards sustainability goes a long way – business owners and employers alike can help to nudge their company towards a more sustainable future.
Use Less Paper
Paper is one of the most obvious things to consider when it comes to being sustainable. While many businesses are going mostly digital, there are still plenty that rely on paper documents in situations where they really do not need to, and that means that more trees are being cut down to produce them.
There are plenty of situations where paper is a very valuable tool, but there are just as many where it can be completely avoided. Using messaging apps is a lot faster and more convenient than sending notes, and you can email files directly to other people rather than relying on fax machines.
While servers need electricity to run, they can also be a much more efficient way to store hundreds of thousands of documents, all of which are completely paperless. It also means that you can access them from almost anywhere, update them as necessary, and upload new ones in seconds.
Like paper, ink is something that can easily be avoided, but many people forget how simple it can be. Not only does ink consume a lot of resources to make, but it has the same downsides as paper and can be replaced in the exact same way.
While ink is still useful for printing documents, you should avoid it wherever possible. Advances in word processing software have made it easier than ever to leave notes on documents, build visual plans, or otherwise do things that you would normally have had to draw by hand.
Cut Power Usage
The more electronic devices your business uses, the more electricity you need. Running devices non-stop can be expensive wasteful and might even wear them down faster. Instead, you should try to slash the power expenses by using your electricity in a smart way.
For example, shutting down servers overnight (if they are not needed in another time zone) and turning off computers when you head to lunch can make a massive impact in the long-term. Plugging everything into a limited number of power strips can also help.
The less energy you are using, the less you are wasting, and you will see the costs drop fairly quickly. Just remember to save everything before turning a device off.
Reduce Plastic Use
Reusable products are always better than non-reusable ones, and plastic is a very common issue. For example, a break room might have a lot of plastic cups, things that you might throw away rather than wash and reuse. Replacing them with mugs is a small change, but it really works.
There are a lot of plastic items that you might want to replace, especially if they are things that are meant to be disposable. Using normal kitchenware in an office kitchen can mean that they have to be washed, but it is far better than disposable plates, cups, and cutlery.
Recycle More Often
Recycling is a huge boon to the environment. While not all recyclable items will end up recycled (depending on the location you are in and the kind of items you are throwing away), you can still try to reduce how much you are actively throwing into a regular trash bin.
A recycling bin in a convenient place (such as an office corridor, lunch area, or kitchen) creates a very clear and obvious spot for employees to throw away recyclable materials. This can also extend to office areas that have a lot of paper files, especially ones that only see limited use.
The more you recycle, the less you waste, making it a perfect addition to any office that does not already recycle most items. Many people do not recycle at work specifically because there is not a container or bin that is meant for recyclable items, so changing that can work wonders.
Work With Sustainable Companies
One of the quickest ways to get more sustainable is to partner up with sustainable companies. You do not have to make them a close contact or actual partner –if they are selling a more sustainable version of something you already need, then you could always make the switch.
For example, a local company that occasionally sends out products to nearby clients might switch to a group that delivers those items by bicycle rather than by car. This is a small difference, but it can really stack up if those deliveries happen often, as long as there is the infrastructure to make them possible.
This also goes for office supplies, as well as things that you only have to buy every so often. A more sustainable coffee maker might cost more to buy upfront, but it could save energy, reduce waste, and generally help you create a nicer office environment.
Whatever you are looking for, make sure that you consider sustainability whenever you can. It is a small thing, but it can have a noticeable impact on your finances, the quality of your office, and sometimes even the health of your employees.