April 22nd is Earth Day. The theme this year is end plastic pollution.

However, this one day shouldn’t be the only day we should focus on protecting our planet. We should be doing our bit every day and not just at home but in our businesses too. There is no reason why a business can’t be more environmentally responsible.

As a business owner, here are 6 ways to make every day Earth Day for your business. These are simple, environmentally-friendly tips and ideas that can be used all year round.

1. Recycling

Recycling at work is easy to set up and run, could save you money and helps to protect the environment. Does your company promote recycling? Are your employees encouraged to throw away plastic and other recyclables in recycling bins?

If you haven’t yet started, get in touch with local waste collection contractors to find out what they collect and when they collect. Here is a list of questions to ask contractors when setting up a recycling program for your business.

Invest in reusable bottles and mugs for your employees, with your company’s logo on them. So when they need to help themselves to water or a cup of tea/coffee, they can use their own personal bottle or mug thus reducing the amount of plastic cups needing to be used.

2. Use Eco-Friendly Office Supplies/Equipment.

When it comes to buying products for your businesses opt for energy efficient products and eco-friendly supplies. Did you know that you should consider purchasing laptops instead of traditional desktop computers, as laptops consume considerably less energy? Also try using rechargeable batteries as the disposable types are expensive to recycle.

If you do need to use paper, invest in recycled paper and don’t forget to recycle old documents. Use the back of them as scrap paper to make notes on when brainstorming ideas with team members. Reuse paper envelopes and file folders by sticking a new label over the old one.

3. Analyse Energy Use

 

Establish how much energy your small business utilises by using an online tracker and aim to reduce the amount of energy and water your business consumes.

There are simple things everyone can do that will save a huge amount in energy bills. Encourage everyone in the business to turn off their computer/laptop or use the stand-by/hibernate mode when not in use or when leaving the building. Get labels printed that can be stuck on each computer to remind employees at the end of each day.

Also, encourage employees not to forget to turn off the lights! They wouldn’t leave their lights on everywhere at home so why do it at work?

4.Use Less Paper

This is a biggie-as it will have a huge impact!

It’s easy to print out copies of your PowerPoint presentation for the 30 people that are sitting there at your team meeting, without thinking about trees and the energy it takes to create those sheets of paper. Businesses still use millions of paper each year. It doesn’t have to be this way. But why not show the presentation on PowerPoint and tell the team it will be emailed over for their reference.

Paperless contracts are real and valid-you don’t need to have a hard copies in most places anymore. These contracts are becoming more popular every day. Any signature made electronically—whether it’s typing your name at the bottom of an e-mail, pushing an “Accept” button is just as binding as an old-fashioned pen-and-paper.

Electronic signatures have different laws and regulations depending on where in the world you want to use them. Check here to see which laws apply to which country.

Another way of reducing paper use is to avoid printing things out just for storing or circulating information. Instead, store information in folders electronically, use cloud storage.

Also, use e-mails to send and review reports, edit materials online and ask your employees to resend that information back to you electronically. Look into software tools that monitor printer waste. A lot of companies have codes for employees when operating the printer for scanning or collecting printouts. This is a good way for a business owner to analyse where most of the paper printouts are coming from and to take action if need be.

Another way to drastically reduce your paper clutter is to pay for your company’s bills electronically or via e-bill programs. All companies that have this format allow you to download your bills and store them electronically for your own records. This goes for paying suppliers online too.

5. Think About Your Commute

To prevent wasted fuel, reduce air pollution, as well as decrease traffic in your community, by trying to take public transport to work and encourage your employees to do the same.

If you do need to drive, consider carpooling with a colleague.

Whether you’re an avid cyclist or an occasional rider–you’re doing more than you know to help improve our environment by cycling to work;

  • Bicycles do not create carbon dioxide-cars emit high levels of carbon dioxide; the main cause of global warming. Cycling more helps to reduce this amount of carbon dioxide pollution.
  • Cycling reduces congestion; congestion from cars clogs up our roads and increases our stress levels. If everyone cycled to work this would help reduce the number of cars on the road, alleviate stress and improve our mental well-being!

6. Allow Working Remotely

Also known as telecommuting in the U.S. is a work arrangement, where employees do not commute to a central workplace, but work at some other location, usually from home. In this digital and information age, this arrangement becomes more and more possible and the benefits are obvious.

Working remotely improves employee satisfaction. People want to be able to take control of their lives and desperate to find a balance between work and life. Having the option to work from home reduces the stress of the daily grind of getting into work. By not having to drive into work, employees save on paying for fuel (also reducing air pollution).

It also reduces unscheduled absences. Unscheduled absences can have a knock on effect for employers and co-workers. By having the flexibility of working from home it could reduce unscheduled absences a great deal. In fact working remotely can increase productivity. Happier employees will work better and do more.

Also, think about the amount of energy saved when your employees are not in and all the office spaces not utilised (computers and lights switched off for the day).

So why not schedule one day next week for you and your employees to work from home (as part of Earth Day) but try to make this a regular occurrence if possible (Make Every Day Earth Day!).

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There is so much more that you and your business can do;

Sponsoring Earth Day events in your local school;

Working with your colleagues to help clear up a local area in your community;

Planting trees in your communal garden;

You just need to go out there and do your bit to save our planet.

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