Going green is easier than ever, in fact it makes business sense to do so - so what are you waiting for? Here are a few tips to get you started.
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As environmental concerns become an increasingly big issue due a growing population, businesses are facing more pressure to manage their waste and their impact on the environment. As a result, more and more businesses are taking a digital approach to data storage.
On average, the amount of waste paper sent to landfill each year would fill 103,000 double decker buses, and the UK requires woodland the size of Wales to meet its paper needs each year. Doing something as simple as minimising paper usage can have a significant effect on the environment, not only that, but it can also have huge cost saving benefits, especially when you realise 50% of all waste from businesses is made up of paper.
There are some easy steps that businesses can take to lower their wastage levels on a daily basis. The quickest solution is to invest in recycling bins in the office for paper waste, plastic, drinks cans, cartridges, toners and glass.
This way these materials aren’t being thrown away but instead sent to recycling services to be reused, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill sites and reducing the effect on the environment. According to Recycle Now, current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
The only real problem with recycling bins is actually getting employees to use them. Clear communication between staff members is important to relay the message that the business is taking recycling serious. This can be achieved by implementing recycling policies, giving employees clear information on how to recycle effectively and also highlight what is expected of them.
A useful tip is to remove individual bins from under staff members’ desks and just have single recycling and waste points. Workers will be forced to break the habit of just throwing things away without thinking properly about how they dispose of their waste.
People have different attitudes to recycling at home and in the office
Recycling policies can go further and include guidelines on when and when not to print copies of documents. Question yourself – is a printed version necessary or can it be saved on the computer or shared digitally? Not only will this save on the amount of paper used, but will also save on the amount spent on paper supplies, thus reducing operating costs.
Many companies already implement such policies by putting email signatures on employee email accounts which advise not to print emails unless completely necessary. Some organisations even opt to set the printer driver default settings so that multiple page documents are printed back-to-back on one sheet of paper, which ultimately halves the amount of paper that’s used.
The digital office
Developments in technology are also helping to lower the amount of paper that’s used, and as a result aiding businesses in their quest to become more environmentally friendly. For example, by using cloud computing services such as Dropbox, businesses can reduce the amount of paper they are using by storing documents and forms digitally.
Information can be safely saved and backed up remotely which can then be accessed by employees wherever they are. By eliminating the need for physical paperwork, this kind of file sharing helps to reduce business costs and improve productivity.
Storing your data in the cloud means employees can work from just about anywhere
There are also a number of mobile applications available to help businesses operate on a more paperless basis. WorkMobile, for example, is an award-winning provider of mobile technology solutions that helps business to replace paper forms by storing documents on the cloud.
The app allows mobile workers to fill in forms on mobile devices, as opposed to timely paper ones, helping to save both time and money on administration and printing costs. This enables businesses to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities as by reducing their paper waste and their impact on the environment. It’s also been calculated that, by using WorkMobile, businesses can also save an average of £2,000 a year on paper costs per employee.
Becoming more sustainable doesn’t just stop at reducing paper waste. Reducing the amount of energy that is used in the workplace also goes a long way to reducing a company’s carbon footprint. Making simple changes such as turning off equipment when not in use, investing in low energy lighting and reducing the temperature in the office can significantly lower energy bills and subsequently make a business more energy efficient.
Most companies use more energy than necessary without realising it, often through habit or being unaware of the wider consequences. This has changed, however, and increasingly more people are becoming conscious of the need to reduce energy usage and become more sustainable.
The move to become more environmentally friendly and go ‘green’ is growing in importance and can no longer be ignored. As awareness of sustainability and the impact of people on the planet grows, customers and investors looking favourably on companies with environmental policies and so it pays to invest in waste reduction.
Businesses are now becoming expected to take a more proactive approach in their waste management and make a positive contribution to the environment. Embarking on energy saving strategies not only helps companies to fulfil this expectation, but also can lower operating costs and increase profit margins resulting in benefits all round.