Tips on How to be Eco Friendly as a Small Business

With businesses responsible for 17% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and over 30 million tonnes of waste per year, we all need to act. Here are some simple tips on how to be eco friendly while running a small business.

What we will cover

Energy & Emissions

According to stats from Bionic, the average small business uses between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of electricity each year, amounting to around £3,500. Reducing energy usage is clearly a win-win scenario so that is a good place to start.

Most small businesses will use computers and other IT devices (printers, monitors, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) Making sure non-essential equipment is powered down overnight will help to reduce your consumption but you can do better. Many devices today have power management settings which you can adjust to minimise electricity use when idle. Even using your business smartphone’s power saving feature will reduce charging time, saving you money and reducing your energy footprint.

Here are some more tips on how to be eco friendly with your energy usage:

  • Maximise natural light in your offices by opening out window spaces, painting walls in bright colours and using mirrors.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting in rooms that aren’t used much (bathrooms, store cupboards, etc.) These will only come on when people are in the room.
  • Put a sign on the inside of the office door reminding the last person to leave to check everything is switched off.
  • Use eco-friendly suppliers for electricity. Although everyone gets the same mix of fuels, investment in green energy is shifting the balance. In 2020, the UK went a record 18 days without firing up a coal-fired power station

Of course, one of the best ways a business can cut down on its emissions is to reduce car usage. The pandemic highlighted some of the benefits of home working and virtual meetings and these included reduced CO2 from exhaust fumes.

Could you reduce the number of days employees are in the office? In some cases, businesses have closed their offices completely, saving on both energy use and business rates.

Even if home working is not feasible for your business, could you make cycling to work more of an option. Offering secure bicycle storage and installing a shower could convince employees to ditch the car and bike in.

Packaging & Paper Waste

In 2020, the UK produced over 12 million tonnes of packaging waste and while around two thirds of that was recycled, a lot still ended up in landfill.

Small businesses can help by minimising the amount of packaging they use for products and making sure as much of it is recyclable as possible.

Paper waste is another crime against the planet and almost all businesses can help reduce paper usage by replacing paper invoices and documents with virtual replacements. Many documents can now be signed virtually and anyone with a smartphone can open a pdf invoice.

Here are some more tips on how to be eco-friendly with your paper usage:

  • Set your printer for double-sided printing
  • Keep a box of scrap paper for employees to use
  • When you do stock up on paper, make sure it is made from 100% post-consumer waste
  • Provide paper recycling bins for office workers

Leading by Example

Tips on how to be eco friendly are all well and good but they won’t last the distance unless you can embed an authentic green culture at the heart of your business.

One way you can do this is to rewrite your business plan and put eco friendly principles at its heart. Use this as a launchpad for a rebrand so that you can start broadcasting your eco credentials both to your employees and customers.

Finally, one of the lesser-known tips on how to be eco friendly is to make sure your website is being hosted by a green hosting company. This means that the servers (computers) on which your files are held are powered by renewable energy.

To find out more about the eco-friendly web hosting we offer at Vu, please visit our web hosting page. To introduce this as part of a consistent marketing approach then discuss becoming part of the Vu Tribe.

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Vu is a Devon digital marketing agency delivering positive change for organisations and small businesses. We prioritise good work, people, sustainable business and environment because we choose to.

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