Climate change currently dominates the headlines worldwide and the pressure for bosses to create an eco-friendlier business is seriously on.

Many believe climate change is simply an issue for the guys at the top such as government officials and large corporations but the responsibility lies with us all. That includes SMEs.

No matter the size of your business there are some very easy and practical eco-friendly ideas which can be implemented.

Green business ideas can be small or dramatically large but every little bit helps when it comes to reducing our impact on the planet.

Conscious business practice will play a pivotal role in the survival of your company in the decades to come. As Mark Carney of the Bank of England recently stated: ‘Companies that don’t adapt will go bankrupt, without question.’

So it seems that the time has come for businesses of all sizes to start implementing eco-friendly practices. This article looks at 8 great ways to make your business more sustainable and eco-friendlier.

Recycling

By far the easiest change you can make to your office right now is to start recycling waste materials properly. This includes:

  • Paper
  • Confidential paper shredding
  • Cardboard
  • Printer cartridges
  • Plastic bottles
  • Food and drink cans
  • Electrical equipment

An office recycling plan can be easy to set up and manage. It’s best to appoint members of your team to manage different aspects so that everything stays organised and runs smoothly. Recycling will help you save space, keep the office tidy and could even save you money.

Eco-friendly printing

Did you know that 60–80% of all office waste is paper? Over the last few years, offices have been doing a good job of only printing when absolutely necessary and recycling, which has helped reduce costs and save paper. However, there are a few other measures an office can take to help with this issue further.

  • Buy FSC or recycled printing paper from your paper supplier. FSC certified paper guarantees the paper you’re using comes from a sustainable source that has minimised its impact on the environment.
  • Use vegetable based inks which have significantly less impact on the planet compared to traditional inks made from petrol or mineral oil.
  • Choose biodegradable laminates. Ideal for ID cards and event passes. We are delighted to provide this option which will degrade in landfill after 5 years without harmful effects.
  • Consider seeded paper/paper and plastic cards made from recycled coffee cups! Seeded paper is not only recyclable but if planted it will actually grow into a mini wildlife-friendly garden. Seeded paper can be used just like regular paper for business cards with a lovely, natural textured finish. We can also offer 100% recyclable cardboard pull-up banners which have seeded bases too! The only limit is your imagination.

Donate old equipment

Donating IT equipment is a fantastic way to help reduce waste, improve the environment and help those in need simultaneously. Companies like Computer Aid can take old IT equipment from your business, wipe it clean and then use that equipment to support young learning centres and schools in Africa. They have already helped 14.5 million people gain access to IT equipment to help enhance their education. Once they have delivered the equipment via their partners in Africa, they set up small cabins powered by solar to provide electricity.

Responsible partners

Working effectively with business partners is important when trying to become more eco-friendly.

Assessing your current partners and looking into their sustainability and corporate responsibility values is important. It’s worth thinking about and putting into writing your own company values first.

If your ethos on the environment is strong, you can then start to identify business partners that share similar beliefs. Work together to find eco-friendly solutions.

Carbon-neutral web hosting

A very quick and simple change you can make to improve your carbon footprint is to change your web hosting to an eco-friendly provider.

Most people don’t realise that web hosting is extremely energy-intensive. Data centres use thousands of high-powered computers that have a huge drain on electricity and also emit lots of heat. This heat is then cooled via a large cooling system which, again, uses a lot of energy.

When selecting a web hosting provider, check they invest in carbon offsetting schemes. Typically, for every unit of energy they use they will pay to put a unit back on the grid via a renewable energy source.

Join the Clean Planet Programme from Minolta

This special programme from Konica Minolta is designed to support, advise and help companies go greener with practical ways to reduce waste and recycle.

In the UK, you can join the programme to return your used ink cartridges. They are then recycled, effectively preserving any valuable materials that can be reused again.

The best thing about the Clean Planet Programme is that it’s completely free. Once you have signed up, they will send you empty packages for you to fill with your used cartridges. You then return the packages free of charge to one of their centres, where they are processed.

Reducing plastic

Single use plastic is currently one of the major enemies in regard to the environment. Plastic is filling our oceans, polluting our water and harming our wildlife.

Any ideas that help reduce the amount of plastic in the office should be taken. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

  • Work with your suppliers to make better-informed choices over packaging of office supplies.
  • Encourage homemade lunches by creating a pleasant eating space with a fully equipped kitchen to reduce take-outs.
  • Provide people with metal or bamboo eating utensils, removing the need for single-use plastics.
  • Cut down on tea and coffee plastics; instead consider eco-packaged products or buy in bulk.
  • Install a water cooler to reduce the need for water bottles.
  • Buy your employees reusable coffee cups for their takeaway coffees.
  • Choose degradable bin liners or reuse old bags.

Clean green

The eco-conscious cleaning industry has been booming of late with all the talk of climate change. Work with your suppliers to ensure that the cleaning products provided to the office are eco-friendly, planet kind and cruelty-free too (look for the leaping bunny / vegan logo).

If you buy your own cleaning products then consider all the following and see if you can buy eco-friendly versions. Ecover, Ecoleaf and Method are brands you might like to try.

It’s never been easier than right now to transform your business into a green, sustainable and conscious company. You can help foster a new sense of care and urgency in your team to become more green-conscious throughout all their work. Lead them and your business to a greener future. As a reward, you will save time, money and maybe even the planet.

At MAD Ideas, we are committed to sustainability and environmental friendliness and incorporate many of the ideas mentioned above into our own business practices. From switching to plant milks for client meetings to using reusable cups on the go! we can all make a difference to reduce our environmental impact.

Together we can create a greener, planet friendly future for all.

Contact us today to find out more about the eco-friendly design, print and marketing services we provide!