Managers and owners have a tonne of policies and practices they can implement, but we can sometimes (often) feel like our efforts are in vain.
We recently decided to look inwards as a business. We took a critical look at our way of doing things here at Agendrix and chose to take measures to try and reduce our ecological impact.
Today, we want to share some of our thinking points with you. Here are 10 simple tips to become a green business.
1. Eco-Friendly Waste Management
The three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—are first and foremost about limiting waste production. After all, the best way to manage waste is to keep it to a minimum.
Now, the term “waste” is pretty broad. Let’s divide it into three categories: compost, trash, and recyclables.
Compost: The Key to a Greener Workplace
Since staff members typically eat at work, it’s common sense to provide a compost bin. But there’s a catch: it turns out that in many cities, business aren’t allowed to have compost bins, even if they’re willing to pay for them.
The solution we went for was to put a small airtight container in the cafeteria. Every night, an employee volunteers to take it home. If several employees want to participate, they can take turns.
Here’s another interesting piece of information: If you think compostable bags can be replaced with regular biodegradable or Oxo-biodegradable, they can’t. For your composting to work properly, real compostable bags are a must. Otherwise, you’ll just be generating waste and impede the process.
Recycling at Work
To promote recycling, don’t hesitate to put numerous recycling bins in your work areas so that finding one doesn’t become an adventure for your employees. Also, why not clarify the basics by putting up a list of recyclable products? You may be aware of it, but a large portion of what people think they’re recycling actually ends up in the trash.
2. Green Transportation
Many businesses now endeavor to minimize travel by car, and there are many ways to go about it. To encourage carpooling, for instance, choice parking spots can be attributed to carpoolers. Likewise, to incentivize using public transportation, business can simply cover the costs. Why not install an electric charging station in your parking lot? The government actually subsidizes this type of initiative.
3. A Paperless Workplace
Paper is omnipresent. How to get rid of it? Go digital with all your official documents, forms, and schedules. For example, here at Agendrix, we pretty much exclusively use Google Drive for any and all documents.
Get rid of your paper schedules and memos on your bulletin board by using an employee scheduling software. In addition, your team will have access to all the information related to their job on their cellphone.
That said, if you absolutely must keep paper around, you can still use recycled paper or FSC-certified paper. In short, the FSC label is used for paper made using processes compliant with the latest environmental standards at every stage.
Get rid of paper invoices by sending them by email instead. You’d be surprised by how many clients appreciate the thought.
4. Modernized Lighting
Dispose of your old lightbulbs. You’re in the know about DEL lighting, aren’t you? It saves 85% more energy over the antiquated halogen lightbulb.
What’s more, quality DEL bulbs last 25 times as long.
5. Ecoconscious Water and Coffee
Coffee is a workplace essential. Providing it is sure to save you and your team a lot of time and travel. But did you know that the standard capsules used by modern coffee makers are extremely polluting? There’s no recycling them once used; they become straight trash. If you currently use that kind of coffee machine and aren’t looking to change, know that biodegradable and reusable specialty capsules and caps do exist. Some are even 100% compostable.
As for water consumption, why not give all employees a branded, reusable water bottle? Getting a water fountain as an additional incentive would complete this initiative well.
This measure encourages your staff to adopt the healthy habit of hydrating regularly all while reducing the use of bottled water.
6. Ecofriendly Kitchen Implements
Rather than filling your cabinets with disposable plates and utensils, make the ecoresponsible choice: washable dishes. It’s like at home, except that everybody washes theirs! To implement this at Agendrix, we got ourselves some drying racks and mats. That’s all there is to it!
7. Sensible Bathrooms
Your green makeover can start with your bathroom. First off, if the lights are on all the time, think about getting a sensor that keeps them off when no one’s around. Then, how about replacing the classic paper towels or their main competitor, the hands-free dryer, by a simple basket of towels? This would allow you to replace your trash can with a used towel basket, which an employee could volunteer to clean up every week. You’d reduce your paper consumption, trash generation, and energy usage in one fell swoop. To complete your makeover, you could even replace toilet paper with…
We got you there. 😂 Let’s not take this too far.
8. Weekly Red-Meat-Free Day
Mobilize your team by instituting one red-meat-free day per week. To keep the ball rolling, put up signs in the dining area or send out email reminders the day before. We may recall, by the way, that “one kilo of beef equals more than 35 kilos of greenhouse gas.” This tradition will quickly come to symbolize your commitment and pave the way for other, similar initiatives.
9. Awareness, Gestures, and Events
Mobilize your team around one or several environmental causes. You could substitute a team activity by one that contributes to protecting the planet. For example, have you ever had the ambitious idea to organize a yearly event for which staff and their families would get together to do something significant for the environment? Here are a few ideas :
- Organize a clothing drive for a local charitable organization;
- Clean up a park;
- Subscribe to a local organic fruit and vegetable delivery service for everyone to enjoy;
- Plant trees in a strategic location;
- Collect used batteries or empty cans.
10. Ecofriendly Gifts
Here’s a more daring idea: replace the usual Christmas presents by ecofriendly ones. Here are two suggestions.
Bees? In my workplace?
Meet Alvéole, a company whose business is setting up beehives in workplaces, be it just outside or on the roof. Doing so would allow you, on the one hand, to protect the bees, whose pollinating role is vital to our ecosystem and, on the other hand, to collect neat little honey pots and other beekeeping products with your brand on it, which make great gifts! See for yourself!
Zero-Waste Starter Kits
Have you ever thought about providing your employees with alternative wrapping options, such as washable sandwich bags or beeswax-derived cling wrap substitutes, to pack leftovers? What an original, green gift idea! With this, you would truly position yourself as an ecoconscious business, in addition to inspiring your staff to follow your lead.
On the Way to Becoming a Green Business
Of course, putting all of this into motion might take you a while. Nevertheless, don’t hesitate to show us what you chose to implement in your business with the hashtag #greenagendrix. We can’t wait to hear from you!