If you run a business with a physical storefronts, office, or production facility, then you have probably recognized how wasteful and energy consuming running a business can be. In turn, you may have considered ways to make your business operations more eco-friendly and less wasteful.
Waste does more than just add to pollution – it also costs you money and can be bad PR. Here are five ideas for ways to make your brick-and-mortar business a little more efficient in areas that matter most.
1. Cut-Down on Paper Dependency
Paper waste accounts for a huge amount of rubbish sent to landfills and creates chemical waste during the production process. Computer printers also generate waste from expended ink cartridges, many of which are inefficiently utilized due to often corrupt practices in the industry that creates them.
You can save adding to all of this waste by cutting down on the number of paper printouts you use in your business. Make use of digital file systems to store and send documents instead. Use WiFi and Ethernet networks to send documents locally, and emails to send them remotely. You can also use cloud hosting services like DropBox and Google Drive to store and share your documents. This often keeps them safer and more secure than physical storage and also makes your business run more smoothly due to easier document sharing within it.
2. Optimize Packaging Material Usage
Many physical goods are sent with a ridiculous amount of packaging and padding material. Large boxes are often used to send small items because the picking and packing process is a blur of activity with no time for efficiency. This requires more padding to hold the items being sent in place. Without decent oversight of this process, you can get a cascade of poor choices that add to your costs and produce unnecessary waste.
Pre-packaged goods often have a similar problem with the packing materials used. In some cases, eco-friendly paper, recycled materials, and other organic packaging are available. But in most cases, nearly everything is packed in multiple layers of plastic. As a result, the environment, particularly the oceans, are struggling with plastic waste.
Every now and then it is a good idea to audit your packing and packaging processes and try to get an overview of your company’s material usage. Try to see where bad choices are being made and work out ways to stop that from happening. Educate your workers, managers, and designers to use more material-efficient and eco-friendly procedures and packaging designs to cut down on waste and pollution.
3. Leverage Local Vendors Whenever Possible
Transporting goods requires large amounts of energy, which in turn produces carbon and pollution in the atmosphere. Depending on the distance, opting for out of area vendors can also be fairly expensive. Road transport consumes a lot of fuel and produces carbon-polluting exhaust from gasses and particles. Not only does this impact the environment, but increase the risk of health issues in metropolitan areas. In turn, programs have been put into place to reduce carbon pollution from transportation – one of the most impactful causes of increases climate temperatures.
You can save on all this waste and make your business a bit more eco-friendly by sourcing your goods from local producers whenever possible. The shorter the transport distance the lower the energy consumed, and oftentimes, the higher your savings. This also helps keep your local area prosperous by keeping the money you spend on business resources circulating within that area.
4. Use Energy-Efficient Devices
Modern businesses make fairly extensive use of technology. The average shop, office, and factory is filled with devices both small and large, all of which consume power and eventually need replacing.
Older devices often use less efficient power management practices that waste energy and money. They can also often negatively affect productivity. They can be bulky and awkward to use, and they will generally be less production efficient than newer tech.
It’s a good idea to occasionally go over all the devices you use in your business and see if you would be better off replacing them with something more modern and efficient. You can usually find good information on the energy efficiency of newer devices with independent bodies often doing extensive testing to find out their true energy and environmental costs. With a bit of stocktaking and research, you can quickly work out which devices are in need of a modern upgrade.
5. Invest Solar Window Film
One of the most visible ways to let customers know that your business premises use environmentally sustainable practices is to add an eco-friendly solar insulation film to your windows. These insulating films inhibit radiant heat and UV radiation from intruding into your store or business property by reflecting it away from the window.
Certain types of solar window film also add a layer of insulation to the window that limits heat conduction and helps stop heat escaping in the winter. If you have a lot of windows in your business property then this can make a huge difference in how much power you use to heat and cool it. And it is an eco-friendly measure that people can clearly see that you are using.
Solar film can also help save your store or business interior. The solar insulation film reflects most of the ultra-violet radiation that is responsible for fading and degrading carpets, blinds, furniture, business products, and other items. This can help save you the cost of replacing these items earlier than you need to, and save some of the power and material costs involved in making those items as a result.
Another plus of solar film is that it can cut down on glare in your premises. This can make your business more pleasant for customers to visit and for your workers to work in.
These are just a few small ways that you can make your business more eco-friendly and save yourself money in the process. Waste is material that you spent money to produce and got no return on, so why produce more of it than you have to? Take a look at your business today and see what you can do to turn it into an energy and waste efficiency powerhouse.