Start today! 5 ways to make a difference to the environment
November 1st 2022 – Written By Stephanie Sheargold
It can’t have escaped your attention that all is not well with the health of our planet. Continued deforestation, reliance on fossil fuels, and throwaway culture are fast creating a true paradise lost situation.
And it’s not as if we can leave it to governments to sort things out. Conflicting priorities and a shaky commitment to making any kind of change mean we’re nowhere near making the kind of changes the planet needs from us.
But there are things each of us can do.
I’ll be honest. Until recently, the state of the environment wasn’t something I paid much attention to and I hadn’t done much to change my ways. But then my sister had her children. It made me feel a little broody and I realised what a mess we’re leaving for future generations. I saw the protests and the film ‘Don’t Look Up’ and realised it was time to act.
Business owners have a responsibility to the planet
As a business owner, I have double the responsibility. I can change aspects of my own life and have an impact on my business and its surrounding network of clients and suppliers. As part of this, I’ve started taking a more proactive approach to helping protect the planet.
The first of those steps is signing Timpi up to Ecologi.
From this point forward, every time a new client joins us, we’ll plant 25 trees on their behalf. It’s a small individual change, but will mount up over time.
There are more things in the pipeline, and I’m excited to share these with you over the coming months.
Things we can all do to live and work more sustainably
There are many more things we can do to minimise our impact. You’ll be very familiar with many of them – turn the heating down a notch, recycle your plastic packaging, don’t buy bottled water. But what else can you do?
Here are some things you may not have thought about.
1. Go paperless
Stationery is a weakness of mine, but the truth is that there really is no excuse to load up on paper and disposable plastic pens anymore. Work through your existing stockpile of stationary and commit to becoming paperless. We all use a laptop or computer to work, so make life simple and use the notes functions, reminders or a Word document to take notes. If you want to go up a grade, use an iPad or reMarkable, or start using apps such as Evernote or Trello. What’s more, because these tools are collaborative, it’s easier than ever to share your notes and ideas with others.
2. Pack in your printer
Do you really need to print? Now that email has overtaken snail mail, your printing days could well be behind you. After all, you can sign things electronically and complete forms online. You don’t even need to print your own shipping labels – couriers will bring them along for you!
Go one step further and minimise printer use for your clients. Providing digital signature options, cloud-based to-do lists and online form builders such as Google help everyone use less printer and ink or toner.
3. Rethink your coffee-drinking habits
Love a cup of coffee? Me too! But before you get yourself another cup, stop and think about the impact of your caffeine hit. Coffee pods are in many cases, an unnecessary piece of packaging that’s emitting carbon with their production and transportation. Kudos to you if you recycle your pods, although sadly, you’re in a minority. The best thing to do? I’d say, wait until your pod machine packs up (they are pretty short-lived) and then invest in a bean-to-cup machine or a classic barista-style coffee machine. The only waste you’re left with is the coffee grounds which you can either pop into your compost heap or add to your food waste collection.
Also, remember that coffee farming has an impact on the environment so choose ethically grown and sourced coffee and look for the Rainforest Alliance or Soil Association logo when buying. This coffee is a little more expensive than regular coffee, but cheaper than pods, and is another way to make your coffee habit more sustainable.
4. Switch off your tech at night
Here’s a blissfully easy one. Shut down your computers and other appliances at the end of the day. Known as the ‘vampire drain’, the average household wastes £68 of electricity per year due to standby modes. As well as turning off screens, lamps and computers at the plug, it’s also good practice to unplug chargers once everything is fully charged.
5. Create a green space
UK green space is at an all-time low. In fact, we’ve lost green space equivalent to the size of Cornwall in just 20 years! While you may not be able to rewild your neighbourhood alone, there are some simple ways to fight back. Creating a greener workplace is one such step. Not only good for our physical health (houseplants remove nasties such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air), it’s also positive for our mental health and productivity – who wouldn’t want that?
You could go one step further and invest some time in window boxes or a small planted area outside your office. These can support wildlife-friendly and human-friendly green corridors. Businesses and individuals can also contribute to schemes designed to support rewilding and tree planting such as Ecologi.
Do you have other suggestions for reducing our impact on the environment? Do share your ideas, we’d love to hear them.
Our wellbeing is affected by the environment we work in and ‘climate anxiety’ is becoming increasingly prevalent. Supporting your own wellbeing by taking control of simple details such as admin and team management. This can leave you with the energy you need for community and environmental initiatives. Read our blog focusing on wellbeing support for business owners for ideas of where to start.