Save Money AND Run a Sustainable Business: Is it Possible?
Run both a green business and profitable business by implementing some simple measures in your company's work space
It is a common misconception that being sustainable means ineffective cost methods, for reusing even the simplest of items can give a business the environmental responsibility they need to uphold a positive reputation – regardless of size. A global survey previously identified that 53% of consumers would prefer to purchase products and services from a company with strong environmental dedication; meaning running an unsustainable business could be causing more harm than you think.
Whether you’re situated in a sky-scraping metropolis or a quaint space in a town centre, these helpful tips and efficient solutions will guide your business to a greener future without damaging your profitability.
Purchase refillable pens
It is estimated over 240m disposable pens that contain plastic and toxic inks are sold in the UK per year. Instead, make the switch to pens with reusable ink cartridges; for realistically it’ll work out cheaper than constantly repurchasing pens.
Certain pen manufacturing brands such as Zebra and Pilot actually work out more cost effective when refill packs are purchased, with a pack of Zebra pens costing £5.19 and a pack of two refills costing £1.88.
Eliminate printing waste
It’s an absolute pain – you print a document only to discover one page has a web address at the bottom or one sentence has fallen onto another sheet. Thankfully, you can print sustainably by using software like GreenPrint; which identifies areas of waste before printing, alerts the user of wasted space and recommends how to eliminate it. This method will also benefit your business financially, for Greenprint claims to save 17% on printing materials and £69.00 annually per user.
Use chlorine-free paper
Although we live in a digitally dominated society, we still need to use paper. Fortunately most manufacturing processes that involve chlorine bleaching throughout Europe have been eliminated, but a few still remain. Unfortunately, chlorine gas has been linked to cancer in animal testing and air pollution.
Insisting on chlorine-free paper means the procedure of using harmful chlorine gas to make paper white will be removed and thereby reduce environmental damage. You can also look for paper that has been produced form m more sustainable substances like bamboo, hemp, or organic cotton.
Invest in automatic shut-down devices
At the end of a working day, many of us dislike having to switch our computer off, so we can pick up where we left off the next day. This may save convenience, but it certainly doesn’t save energy, for the cost of standby power can reach well into the thousands and add 10-15% to your carbon footprint. Purchasing automatic shut-down devices allow your IT equipment to power down outside of working hours; hopefully reducing your electricity bill.
Reusable, long-lasting storage
Approximately 12.5m tonnes of paper/cardboard and 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used in the UK annually, and although these are recyclable materials, plastic can take up to five hundred years to fully decompose and only 25% of the 41% waste cardboard actually accumulates is recycled.
Businesses will eventually have to replace cardboard storage boxes as they gradually break overtime; creating further waste – meaning you clearly need better storage crate management to avoid spending your entire budget on packing. For example – if you’re in the logistics industry, the preventative measure of reusable packaging will greatly reduce one-trip storage and actually keep your products safer.
Remove personal bins
Realistically there’s no reason why everyone needs a personal bin other than avoiding a walk to the kitchen or outside. Having a central location for all rubbish will prevent employees from throwing recyclable materials amongst the non-recyclable.
Ensuring these bins are correctly labelled into different categories will also help your business introduce a more effective recycling system that will assist you in reducing rubbish bags and therefore costs.
Implement a recycling scheme
It can be difficult to embed an idea into employee’s minds when not everyone is aware of the changes; which is where a recycling scheme comes in. Setting well-published SMART aims and objectives for your business (e.g. improve recycling rates by 10% within the next year) will ensure all are mindful of your goals and could lead to an increase in business reputation.
Change printer & photocopier settings
Printing and photocopying are necessities within most businesses, but the way in which you use them can drastically diminish environmentally negative consequences. Setting your printer to default double-sided printing will not only reduce waste, but will also decrease the amount you spend on paper. Another alternative involves limiting the amount of photocopying per member of staff and encouraging scanning and emailing instead.
Remove screen savers
Yes, they are appealing to the eye, but prohibiting screen savers from your desktop can greatly reduce energy consumption and therefore environmental impact.
An analysis conducted by the University of New Hampshire indicates: “if an organisation has 5,000 PCs that run twenty hours a week, the yearly power consumed by those screensavers accost for 750,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 5,858 pounds of sulphur oxide and 1,544 pounds of nitrogen oxide”.
By eliminating screen savers, you will be improving your carbon footprint and therefore your reputation as a sustainable business whilst decreasing electricity costs.
Optimise natural lighting
If your business operates during the day, you have the perfect opportunity to make the most of daylight – the more windows the better. If you’re at a computer all day, insufficient lighting can cause eyestrain and therefore affect your work attitude. However, rearranging your office so employees are closer towards natural light sources will reduce your need for manmade lighting and save you some pounds.