The concept of earth day or going green is to practice and apply the way of life that contributes towards protecting the environment and preserving natural resources by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Shifting to a more sustainable business alternative is no longer a matter of preference or good PR anymore. The public’s opinion and changes in government legislation play a big role in today’s fast-paced era. Going green is becoming a major defining factor in your company’s commercial viability.
Even though going green is hardly the priority of most business owners, having an eco approach to your business comes with several benefits. Earth Day 2024 is the perfect reminder of why you should consider and implement sustainable alternatives for daily operations.
How does a business benefit from going green?
1. Reduced costs and capital
Through upcycling, you can save up a ton of money when procuring needed materials to create your products. If you can find a supplier of recycled materials that you need, it can help reduce the money you spend on acquiring new materials. A great example of this is Chop Value. By collecting used chopsticks from restaurants for free, they’re able to create quality furniture.
2. Increased competitive advantage
Going green can highly improve your brand image, leading customers to recommend your business to others who share the same passion. Something as simple as being cruelty-free could help your business go a long way. But being mindful of the environment is more than just a trend and strategy. The effects it yields are very real.
3. Appeal to a rapidly emerging market
People who are newly dedicated to sustainable living often struggle to look for alternatives to non-eco-friendly products they’ve been used to all their life. This presents a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs to innovate and cater to their needs.
4. Attract more investors
Local governments, banks, and crowdfunding contributors are highly supportive of eco-friendly businesses. Garnering investments, donations, and sponsorships can also be easier for them. It also makes it easier to form partnerships with other businesses and foster a genuine relationship with communities.
5. Being a step ahead of regulations
The cries of activists are finally heard by the people in power. Certain limitations are being imposed in different countries and long-running companies are finding it hard to adapt. It may be because their factory machinery does not live up to current standards or the operational changes are too drastic to change overnight.
How going green impacts your employees
1. High employee morale
It’s not only consumers who demand ethical green purchases. It’s also proven that people prefer working for a sustainable business because it aligns with their values and advocacy. They’re keener to perform their best at work knowing that their job has a lasting impact. It also doesn’t hurt to know that they’ll be working for an environmentally conscious company.
2. Healthier work environment
Having a workforce of like-minded people can create a positive company culture. But it doesn’t mean you should filter who you hire. Having a diverse group of people in your workforce can help spread the word and the benefits of your actions. Your employees bring home the impact you make at work.
10 ways to green your business
1. Recycle your electronics
Companies often upgrade their machinery and the computers used by employees among other electronics. Instead of disposing of them because they look ancient, you can consider taking them to a recycler or donating it. This will prevent recyclable materials from ending up in landfills.
2. Work from home
If your employees can do their jobs at home, you should consider giving them the option of working from home. This reduces your billing energy footprint. It also provides work opportunities for people abroad, giving you a culturally diverse workforce. Or at least consider a three to four-day office week if it’s impossible to completely work from home.
3. Paperless billing
This works both for your company’s bills and the bills you give out to your customers. To lessen the consumption of paper, having bills and receipts sent via email or text is a good way to lessen paper wastes.
4. Buy recycled paper
Buying recycled paper for your business needs adds to your sustainable aesthetic. It also helps that you recycle your paper by printing on both sides and only printing necessary documents. To re-recycle the paper, it’s best not to crumple them up and throw them in the bin. You can have a paper drive in the office so you can donate it once it piles up.
5. Partner with eco-friendly suppliers
You can strengthen your impact by teaming up with like-minded business owners. This also allows you to learn more from others, as you are only just starting to go green for your business. People working towards the same goal are eager to share their knowledge and pull each other one up, not drag each other down to have a higher advantage.
6. Carpooling programs for employees
Ridesharing has been common among travel apps for years because it’s cheaper than booking your own Uber and more comfortable than commuting on public transportation. And if you can afford to provide them a company carpooling service, it can also make your employees feel very well cared for.
7. Reduce water usage
Having a small sign in the restroom reminding employees and yourself to lessen water usage goes a long way. This concept not only applies to water usage but to other things as well like closing lights whenever leaving a room empty. This fosters healthy habits into your employees daily.
8. Veer away from single-use products
If you’re in the F&B industry, it’s better to give consumers the option to refuse cutlery or chopsticks. You can also apply this at the office by not buying single-use office supplies and educating employees on alternative options to lessen wastes. For example, you can provide a seminar to encourage women to shift from using tampons to using menstrual cups.
9. Use eco-friendly packagings for your products
Going for recycled packaging is a great way to show consumers that you’re an environmentally conscious business. Instead of custom boxes and bags, why not reuse cardboard discarded from supermarkets? There are also a lot of alternatives to bubble wrap available now such as green wraps.
10. Incorporate sustainability and nature into team-building activities
It’s been mentioned throughout the article to educate employees through signs and several rules. But it can be difficult for them to adapt immediately especially if your employees weren’t passionate about sustainability before you decided to go green. Embedding them with a genuine appreciation for nature can help them embody the views you want to instill. Something as simple as taking them up for hiking as a team-building exercise can remind them what the habit changes are for.
How many years does it take to decompose a landfill?
To motivate you and your employees further, here’s some additional information that can help you strengthen your focus on sustainability. It’s also important to note that landfill conditions also play a big role in the rate of decomposition.
1. Plastic waste
It’s hard to eliminate plastic from the industry because of its promised convenience. It’s portable and its single-use aspect is convenient for light travel. But the convenience we enjoy makes the environment suffer. It takes anywhere from ten to a thousand years for plastic bags to decompose.
2. Paper waste
Fortunately, paper is more commonly and easily recycled. But for the pieces of paper that end up in landfills, it takes approximately two to six weeks in a landfill for it to decompose. But if landfill conditions are just crisp enough to preserve paper, it can take decades for it to eventually decompose.
3. Aluminum cans
As metal wastes, aluminum cans are also widely recycled around the world. But left to their own devices, they take up to eighty to a hundred years to completely decompose in landfills.
Styrofoam doesn’t biodegrade at all. If that material gets trampled and buried in a landfill, it’s there to stay forever. Styrofoam will only ever leave this world through incineration under extremely high temperatures.
Cardboard takes only two months to decompose. Which makes it the preferred material for packaging across the board. It can also be repurposed numerous times before it ends up in a landfill to finally decompose.
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