Environmental responsibility is so important in business these days. Consumers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions based on how green a company is and a lot of people are willing to pay more for a product if it has been produced using more environmentally friendly techniques. Most businesses are wise to this now and they’re making changes to their operation to reduce their impact on the planet. If you’re not doing this, you’ll fall behind the competition and struggle to find new customers.
Changing your manufacturing operation so it doesn’t produce as many greenhouse gases, adopting new packaging that uses recycled materials, and trying to streamline your shipping processes are all important changes that every business needs to make. However, it’s also important to think about the smaller things as well, like how environmentally friendly your office is. One of the things that a lot of offices aren’t very good at is recycling. It’s something that we all do in our homes and it’s second nature to us now but when it comes to the workplace, a lot of people are still very wasteful. So many companies are using improvements that they’re making as PR opportunities by publicising figures about how much they’re reducing their waste and you could do the same. Not to mention that recycling and generally being a bit greener is a good way to save yourself a lot of money as well, so there’s no reason not to do it. If your office isn’t very good at recycling, here are a few changes that you should consider making.
Cut Paper Consumption
Paper consumption is the first thing that you should look at because not only are you wasting a lot of paper, there’s also no need for it these days because so much can be done digitally. All of that money you spend on paper is wasted and even though you’re probably recycling a lot of it, you’re still creating unnecessary waste and that doesn’t look good for your company.
Trying to move toward digital documents as much as possible is the easiest way to reduce paper consumption. Invest a bit of money in a good cloud storage system and try to encourage your employees to view things on their computer unless they really need to print it out for any reason. You can also use free software like Google Docs so people can collaborate on documents and share them easily without having to print off loads of copies to hand around.
Even though going digital will cut your paper consumption by quite a bit, there are still instances when you’ll need to print things out, but with a couple of simple changes to your printers, you can cut the amount of paper that gets used. First off, switch all printing to double sided and let your employees know that they should only print one sided if they have a good reason to. You should also implement a pull print system where a person has to go to the printer and request the job before it gets printed. The reason for this is that a lot of the stuff that gets printed in offices is never used, it just sits in the printer until somebody comes along to throw it away. A pull print system will ensure that things only get printed if they’re actually going to be used for something.
When it comes to disposing of the paper that you do use, it’s important that it doesn’t just go to landfill. If you have a recycling system in place already, that’s great, but there are other options to consider as well. A lot of companies are moving toward briquetting their paper so it can be used as fuel. If you’re doing this, you’re not only recycling all of the paper waste that you create, you’re also generating an alternative to fossil fuels which means that you’re helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the planet at the same time.
Label Bins Properly
This is a very simple thing that you can do but it makes all of the difference. Your office produces a lot of recyclable waste but how much of it actually ends up in a recycling bin? The answer is probably not a lot, instead, it goes into people’s personal bins at their desk with everything else and they’ll just be emptied into the normal waste bins and end up in landfill. But if you give people a clearly labelled bin for recycling, they’ll be more inclined to start sorting their waste properly instead of putting it all in one bin.
If you’re having a real problem with people around the office not recycling, it may be a good idea to remove personal bins from people’s desks and only supply the clearly labelled bins in the office so nobody has an excuse for not recycling properly.
Offering incentives to your employees is a good way to get them to think more about their waste habits and it also makes things a little more fun. For example, you could offer a prize or bonus of some kind to the department that produces the least landfill waste each month. It’s a good incentive for people to recycle more and it means that people will think more proactively about it.
Sometimes, people don’t recycle out of pure laziness but it may also be that they’re not sure about the rules or they simply don’t understand why it’s important, that’s why it’s a good idea to try to raise awareness about recycling amongst your employees. You could have events on the global recycling awareness day where you talk about the problems caused by landfill waste and plastics and teach people about positive recycling habits. Even putting up posters to remind people which items can go in the recycling bin will help a lot.
If you can make these changes around the office and increase the amount of recycling you do, you’ll reduce your impact on the environment which improves your public image and you may even save some money at the same time.