5 tips to make your UK small business more eco-friendly

eco-friendliness is an important consideration in any office, why not save money and work smart too.

1. Use Eco-Friendly Packaging
The amount of boxes and plastic wrap that are used every day is astonishing. With the widespread popularity of eCommerce, businesses are popping up everywhere and have the ability to send products to people on the opposite side of the globe. Because of this easy-to-access commerce method, more companies than ever use shipping materials that can be harmful to the environment.

Using eco-friendly packaging greatly reduces your company’s carbon footprint while also showing customers what your company values. Not only are these biodegradable shipping materials usually cheaper than the regular options, it can also help your business receive tax benefits from local and government grants. The government encourages companies to go green by offering tax breaks or other perks, another benefit to implementing this sustainability strategy.

2. Recycle and Use Recycled Materials
Everybody knows that recycling is good for the environment, but not everybody knows how to recycle properly. It’s much more complex than simply tossing plastic, paper and aluminium into a coloured bin. Your office building should have separate bins for each of these three recyclable materials and plenty of them. You should implement a brief recycling training program to ensure that your employees understand the proper way to dispose of these products. That may sound a little like teaching your staff how to suck eggs, but this simple step can make a difference and give your employees the confidence of knowing exactly what they need to do.

In addition to recycling products that you use, you can begin using recycled products in the office. If possible, it’s best to go completely paperless, but for many businesses, this isn’t a feasible option. Instead, you can replace regular, brand new paper products with PCW products (post-consumer waste). See our list of eco-friendly office products.

3. Create a Remote Workplace
More and more businesses are going remote, especially over the last few years. With the widespread use of the internet, many companies find it more cost effective to run a remote business. This, of course, may not work for every type of business, but for many, it does. Not only are you saving money, but you are reducing carbon emissions as employees are not required to drive to and from work each day and your office energy use is nonexistent. Aside from the environmental benefits, studies have also found that people who work remotely tend to be more productive and content with their jobs, increasing employee retention rates.

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4. Use Energy Efficient Lights or Alternative Energy Sources
If running a company remotely doesn’t make sense for your business, there are other ways to make your office eco-friendlier. Energy efficient lighting is one of the most important ways you can go about this. Though these bulbs are sometimes slightly more expensive than traditional options (see Philips Hue options at Amazon UK), they last much longer and help reduce energy use and costs.

If you want to take this one step further, you can consider powering your office with an alternative type of energy to reduce emissions (and save money in the long run). Solar-powered panels are a more common type of alternative energy source for businesses in the UK these days. Though the installation cost might be pricey, companies can reduce energy costs by upwards of 75 percent with solar power. For commercial businesses installing solar panels, the starting price may even be drastically lower than expected as government grants offer large tax deductions to those using this type of alternative energy.

5. Align Your Business with Eco-Friendly Holidays
Implementing eco-friendly strategies within your office and business is important to making a difference but encouraging others to join is a great way to increase your impact. You can share how your company uses eco-friendly strategies on social media or blogs to raise awareness, and you can even promote holidays focused on sustainability such as Earth Day and Bike to Work Day.

Creating an eco-friendlier business will build a great reputation for your brand, but it’s also a smart and caring step to take. There are countless benefits to implementing sustainability efforts into your company. You’ll receive tax breaks, cut costs and make a difference. Though it may seem like a major change, it is possible–especially if you start with small steps. You don’t need to walk in and install solar panels tomorrow, but you can begin educating others and implementing simple methods like using eco-friendly packaging or separating your recycling properly.

Photo by CURVD® on Unsplash

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An accomplished journalist who has a passion for the environment and loves to share her experience and knowledge.