We have all heard various terms, such as environmental footprint, sustainability, and eco-friendly. You have probably heard of these terms, mainly because people aim to be more environmentally aware than ever before. That is why it’s important to recognize the different avenues your business can be proactive in helping the environment in simple yet effective ways.
Just looking at the millennial generation, which makes up most of the workforce, we are extremely cautious of the effects a business could have on the environment. According to writer Marguerita Cheng, “Millennial social awareness is part of their work-life because they have grown up with the internet and social media. It is estimated that 79% of millennial employees are loyal to companies that care about their effect on society.” That is why I think it’s important to highlight the different ways a business can help make a strong environmental impact.
The following are simple steps and initiatives that are extremely important for the younger generations in the workplace and also a great way for your business to give back to our planet.
Recycle and using biodegradable products
This can include recycling your ink cartridges, old technology, and utilizing biodegradable products in your office. These efforts show that you are thinking about the future of the environment and taking action to make the planet a healthier place. You can provide your employees with reusable water bottles to help decrease plastic water bottle usage. For instance, in 2011, it was estimated that 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in the U.S. alone. To help with this, you can also install a water filtration system that saves money and stops water bottles from ending up in the landfill.
You can try to sell older technology online or use it as a backup before discarding it completely. There are also store retailers such as Staples and BestBuy that will take old technology to recycle it properly and save it from ending up in the landfills.
Keurig also offers biodegradable k-cups for your Keurig coffee machine versus using the plastic cups that won’t decompose once they are thrown away in the trash.
Utilizing more energy-efficient lighting
Investing in LED lightbulbs can help immensely due to their makeup. According to writer Marla Tabaka, “LEDs use far less energy and do not contain mercury and other toxic gases contained by incandescent and fluorescent lights.” While LED lighting is more costly, it proves to be better in the long-term by lasting up to five years, longer than fluorescent lighting.
You can also encourage mood lighting or a desk lamp in place of LED lighting if the cost is too much or if your employees prefer to have their own lighting setting.
Participating in a fundraiser that benefits environmental endeavors
This would be a great chance to partner with another local business or environmental-friendly nonprofit organization for a local fundraising initiative. This initiative can be in the form of planting trees, preserving a local nature spot, or participating in a “Clean up” day for your community. This grows camaraderie for your team and helps give back to your community and planet.
Limit your need to print
We live in a virtual world, so printing everything is not as necessary as it was before. You can utilize digital formats such as DocuSign for signatures. You can also save all files on a computer hard drive or cloud-based drive instead of printing them out just to place them in filing cabinets.
Moreover, you can utilize recyclable paper or print on both sides, so you save yourself from using more paper than you need. These simple changes can go a long way for the environment.
Remind people to “Think Green” in your email signature
With the need to print less, you need to remind people to only print what they need or for anything they deem essential. This simple reminder can plant the seed for those that read your email. This will get them thinking more about conserving their paper use and replacing it with more environmentally friendly avenues.
Be open to having employees work from home
While we are currently amid a pandemic, telecommuting has been the way of life for many people. However, once we find a way to get back to the office more safely, it wouldn’t hurt to let people work from home. This would save on utilities in your business and help with fuel transmissions for those who have to travel to get to their workplace. While it may seem like small initiatives in this regard, it really all adds up in the long term.
Using green or eco-friendly cleaning supplies
You can find more environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies that will help keep your space clean without having to use harsh chemicals. We have evolved in understanding the chemical makeup of our cleaning supplies. Therefore, finding more eco-friendly supplies that offer the same cleaning capabilities as the products we usually use is much more comfortable.
See if you can get certified for being environmentally proactive in your business industry
I have seen many businesses receive accreditations for their efforts on environmental awareness and sustainability initiatives. Most accreditations require documentation and a thorough plan on what you do to ensure the environmental footprint you leave is long-standing and influential in your business realms.
For instance, I work in the healthcare field, specifically in hospital linen and laundry processing. Our plants specifically deal with the laundry that comes from the hospitals after they are used. Each of our plants is certified for its environmental and hygienically clean initiatives. These certifications are instrumental to our customers – hospitals; because it assures them of our dedication to their facilities and the environment.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you successfully implement green initiatives for your business and help you leave a positive footprint for future generations to follow suit.