These days, many of us — business owners or not — look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Whether that’s something as simple as recycling or turning off the lights when we leave a room, dialling down our carbon footprint is always a good idea.
Many businesses have launched initiatives to encourage their customers to cut down on plastic waste. For example. British supermarket chain Iceland introduced a plastic bottle deposit scheme, which gives customers money back if they bring in plastic bottles.
But you don’t have to be a big corporation or launch wide-ranging schemes in order to reduce your business’s environmental impact. Whether you’re a standalone operation or part of a franchise, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your environmental footprint and encourage your customers to do the same.
Start Recycling in Whatever Way You Can
Recycling is a relatively simple way to help cut down on waste. Placing plenty of recycling bins around your business premises is a good idea to help encourage the habit. Make sure you have a number of different bins for each material — for paper, plastics and so on, to ensure that they go to the right place to be properly processed.
If you’re a business that manufactures clothes or furniture, get in touch with local recycling plants to arrange for waste or damaged stock to be taken to be processed. Whatever size your business, you can implement a recycling scheme that suits you.
Encourage Your Customers to Reuse and Incentivise Them to Do So
Another way to cut down on waste is to generate less in the first place. While recycling is a great initiative, another way to cut down on waste is to encourage reuse. Many coffee franchise businesses have proven very good at incentivising their customers to create less waste.
In chains such as Starbucks, customers who bring in a plastic coffee cup can enjoy a discount. Not only this, but some cafes also sell their own plastic coffee cups in a further attempt to encourage their customers to cut down on excess. Consider what you could implement in your business to encourage your customers to support your goal of reducing waste.
Think about Going Paperless
Consuming paper doesn’t only contribute towards deforestation, but it has wider environmental implications too. Take for example, that it takes an average of five litres of water to produce a single sheet of A4 paper. We’ve made great strides in paper recycling over the decades — in the US alone, over 65% of paper is now recycled.
But while this is admirable, going paperless is an even better way at reducing paper consumption by eliminating its need in the first place. If you usually give your employees printed payslips, think about emailing them instead.
For those who run stores or restaurants, offer your customers an email receipt as an option. Not only will this reduce your paper consumption, but it could even be preferable to the customer as it prevents receipts from being potentially lost or misplaced.
Not Using It? Switch It Off
Simply turning off computers, machines, or lights when they’re not being used will not only save your business money in terms of electricity bills, but it will also reduce your business’s impact on the environment.
If you don’t want you rely on either yourself or your employees remembering to do this, you can tweak the settings on your office PCs so that they turn off after a certain amount of idle time. You could also introduce sensor-activated lights across your business, which rely on movement. When there are no people present, the lights will simply turn off.
These few simple steps can help you to get your business on the green path in 2019.
James Fell is Online Business Editor at Aceville Publications, overseeing digital projects for What Franchise and Global Franchise. He’s passionate about writing about business and the future of franchising.