The impact of climate change, as well as consumers’ growing environmental concerns, has been driving many companies to bring sustainability into the workplace. However, there’s a common misconception that sustainability will raise business expenses and negatively affect profits.
Even though there are sustainability programs such as Allouette’s program where they have over $6.7 million invested into environmental initiatives, there are still other cost-effective ways businesses can become more sustainable without huge capital investments.
10 Ideas for Sustainability in the Workplace that Lower Costs
When it comes to promoting sustainability in the workplace, small changes can encourage significant impacts on our carbon footprint. With this sustainability in workplace tips, your company’s actions can be part of the latest sustainability trends and even attract new customers.
1. Provide Reusable Water Bottles and Mugs at Work
Not only do large amounts of plastic water bottles end up in our oceans, but more than 17 million barrels of oil are also required to produce them in order to meet the demand for water bottles in the U.S., making bottled water more expensive than tap water.
The more sustainable strategy is to provide and encourage your team members and colleagues to use reusable water bottles and mugs. It would also cut down your costs by not needing to frequently buy packs of bottled waters for the entire office.
2. Eliminate the use of Disposable Products
Purchasing plastic utensils, plates, or even cleaning products for the office can prove more wasteful than you might initially imagine. Making the switch to reusable products will save you money in the long run – all while promoting sustainability in the workplace.
Take the Minnetonka Middle School case study, for example. In 2014 the school spent $38,218 on disposable utensils, but during the next school year, they made the switch to reusable products and spent around $14,818 — totaling over $23,000 in savings! They also managed to prevent 6,715 pounds of trash just by switching to reusable products. As an added bonus, the school wouldn’t have to restock their reusables for another three years thanks to the extended lifespan sustainable products come with.
3. Install Low-Flow Faucets
A low-flow faucet is engineered to lower your water usage while still delivering the same water-pressure performance as a regular faucet. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends these fixtures because they can help reduce water consumption by 25%-60%.
Also, because less energy is required for low-flow fixtures, you can save on energy consumption — helping your company save money and be even more sustainable.
4. Install Dual-Flush Toilets
Corporate facilities are among the leading water consumers, according to Water Footprint. But with the right toilet, corporations can positively impact the environment. Visually and physically, dual-flush toilets look exactly like regular toilets. The difference list inside— these eco-friendly models employ a system that uses a designated amount of water to flush liquid waste – and a higher designated amount for solid waste. Although a higher investment than regular toilets, a dual-flush toilet can reduce water consumption by up to 67%.
5. Use Hand Dryers Instead of Paper Towels
A lot more work goes into paper towel manufacturing than meets the eye. These single-use disposables require massive amounts of softwood timber, chemicals, fuel, and electricity to come to life and arrive at your workplace. After one wipe, they turn into waste – making up the largest percentage of waste material in the U.S.
Switching to hand dryers is a cost-effective way to promote sustainability in the workplace. Not only will it cut down on waste, but hand dryers can also save you up to $60 per month when you forgo the cost of stocking paper towels.
6. Turn off Lights Automatically
Power stations that supply light to facilities emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. By leaving lights turned on in an unoccupied room, you trigger higher emission rates. Make a sustainable switch by installing light sensors that automatically turn off the lights when there is no activity in the room.
7. Switch to LED
Making the switch to LED lighting has been a very rewarding initiative for many companies operating in an office, warehouse, or commercial setting. LED light bulbs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting. There are even some states that offer incentive programs for switching to LED, making it even easier for you to save more.
8. Consider Solar Power
One of the ultimate ideas for sustainability in the workplace would be to go solar. According to market data from EnergySage, a commercial property owner can reduce energy costs by 75% by switching to solar energy. This means if your company pays around $2,000 a month on electric bills, costs could be cut down to $500 when using solar.
9. More Digital Paperwork, Less Printing
According to research conducted by ESP Printing and Mailing, small businesses spend between $77 and $92 a month on paper and printing costs per employee. Let’s say your company has 50 employees — that’s at least $3,800 a month on printing costs alone.
The sustainable alternative route would be to go digital. Anything from taking meeting notes on a laptop to sharing presentations in the cloud could help reduce employees’ carbon footprint as well as save costs. There are many other digital practices that could help your team become more productive — all while ensuring sustainability in the workplace.
10. Continue With Remote Work
If you’re a higher-up with the power to determine where your workforce operates from, consider the value of allowing employees to work from home. By eliminating the need to commute to and from the workplace, you can reduce the amount of car pollution emitted on a daily basis. Embracing the remote work lifestyle can also save on overall operations costs such as water, electricity, and gas. A win-win for businesses’ wallets y carbon footprint.
Get Started With a Sustainability Plan
The best thing you can do with these ideas for sustainability in the workplace is to create an action plan. One that you can impress your company by showing how much you can save them while at the same time help ease the world’s fight against climate change. And make sure to check out sustainable business practices that drive profits to create the ultimate sustainability plan.
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