Five things SMEs can do to encourage recycling

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By Sonya Cragg, Head of Sales and Marketing – Countrystyle Recycling

Environmental consciousness is a big deal for many good reasons, and it is not just about paying lip service to governmental schemes. Small businesses can reap the benefits of greener priorities, so here are five changes you can make in the workplace to reduce your carbon footprint and make it a better place to be.

Go Paperless

All good businesses are doing what they can to reduce their use of paper. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but there are many digital alternatives to printed documents, from payroll softwares to good old emailing. Send employees their payslips by email to reduce paper use; host joblists on accessible platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive, which can be updated as work is completed; pass around newsletters and memo via email. There are many small instances in which paper can be saved by keeping documents digital.

Go Virtual

Virtual workplaces don’t suit every industry, and it may only work well for a select few types of workplace, but it can be a huge saving. If work can be done remotely, assigned and submitted remotely, then much money and energy can be saved by eliminating the office environment. Costs like rent, lighting and heating are avoided, and extensive use of energy is bypassed.

Rethink the Supply Chain

When was the last time you had a good look at your supply chain, and by what criteria was it put together? If you weren’t too picky the first time around, re-examine your suppliers and see if you are missing out on any opportunities to source materials closer to home to reduce transportation fees and fuel consumption. Are there any resources you could swap with more environmentally-friendly ones?

Recycling Bin

The addition of a recycling bin to an office is a small but significant step towards reduced waste. A surprising amount of recyclable waste is generated daily in the average workplace, from sandwich cartons and empty cans to junk mail and empty envelopes, and making sure they go to recycling rather than into landfill makes a considerable difference to the amount of waste produced.

Scrap Paper

If you don’t or can’t go completely paperless, the introduction of a scrap paper drawer is a great way of countering paper waste. The majority of informal paper uses in the workplace – such as making notes and to-do lists – can be done just as effectively on sheets of scrap paper, saving new paper for more important documents. This is a simple method for minimising workplace waste.

Changes to the workplace don’t have to be game-changing in order to make a difference, and there are many small but efficient adjustments that can be made to significantly reduce the waste and carbon footprint produced at work.

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