Earth Day 2022
Ten simple things you can do in your workplace to help save our planet…
Earth Day 2022 is being celebrated today, and here at Wylde Connections we are always looking to encourage everyone to do their part, no matter how small, in becoming sustainable. Sustainability is all about protecting our environment, enhancing our social capital and community wellbeing, and giving our economy the space and resource it needs to grow in a more responsible way that benefits all.
We cannot take the task of saving the world on our individual shoulders, but what we can do is make a concerted effort and recognise that embracing more sustainable ways of living and working are the first steps in achieving these goals. We have put together this list of 10 simple things you can do in your workplace to help save our planet.
1. Cycle to work
Not only is cycling (and walking) a terrific way to stay fit and active, but it also helps reduce carbon emissions from the use of cars, trains, and buses. The UK Government implemented the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017. Most employers will have schemes that allow you to gain a bike from the salary sacrifice scheme. Salary sacrifice is where an employee agrees to give up part of their pre-tax salary in exchange for a benefit from their employer, in this case, the hire of a cycle for active travel and/or safety equipment. If you are an employer, it is a wonderful idea to ensure that your workplace has facilities designated for the scheme such as secure, safe, and accessible cycle parking.
Of course, cycling or walking to work is not always feasible. In this case, public transportation or a carpool is always the next best option. As the world is becoming safer again, we must encourage sharing the responsibility, so encourage your colleagues to share their trip to work with you (also a great way to get to know each other better outside of the work environment!).
2. Cut out single-use plastic
Plastic isn’t always a bad thing; it is a necessary material in many aspects of our lives. Where it is not necessary is when it’s only used once and then discarded. Single-use plastics are awful for the environment and many workplaces offer plastic cups, plates, and cutlery to employees, but these items cause a lot of damage to our oceans, rivers, and lakes. The production of single-use plastics also uses up a significant amount of energy and valuable resource. Encourage everyone to bring in their own bottles, mugs, and glasses. Invite your workplace to install appropriate recycling stations and understand where this material is being sent. Investing in reusable kitchenware for your workplace might not seem like much, but it makes a difference!
If you’re interested in learning more about what happens with your recycled plastics, have a look at what one of our clients, TDP, turns it into! Their Commitment to Sustainability document can be found here.
3. Turn off the lights
Making sure you turn off lights and other electrical appliances both at home and in the workplace, including your heating when you’re not in, will save an enormous amount of energy. Adjusting your energy usage by choosing LED light bulbs, maximizing natural light is always a great idea, as well as installing motion sensors that will switch lights off when not being used. This will also help with the huge increase in energy bills that are due to hit most of us soon!
4. Reduce food waste
In the UK, 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted per year which totals to costs of £10.2 billion each year. Wasting food means wasting all the energy and resources used to grow it, produce it, package it, and transport it. On top of that, when food rots it produces methane, another greenhouse gas. Whether you bring your lunch to work, or your workplace has a canteen, ensuring food is not being wasted is crucial. Encourage your business to donate food to local food banks, composting, and turning food waste into animal feed.
There are a few things we do at home that help with food waste, one being planning our meals and recipes so that we only buy what is necessary for that week and reuse ingredients throughout (a great way to kickstart this is to check out the Sorted Food Sidekick app for some great recipes). If we don’t manage to finish our meal, we always ensure it goes in the compost if it can.
5. Get some plants
Indoor plants are a wonderful way of reducing CO2 emissions within workspaces. Not only will they enhance the environment and be visually appealing, but they also improve the air quality vastly. Dracaenas, Spider plants and Peace Lillies are a few examples of the most effective air filters. The plants remove formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and carbon dioxide – all of which are linked to health problems – and are quite easy to care for. Also be vigilant when buying your plants, make sure they are planted using peat-free compost.
6. Recycle materials
Similarly, as recycling food for compost, recycling things such as plastic, cardboard, glass and ensuring reusing and recycling IT equipment is essential. As mentioned before, place plenty of recycling bins throughout the workplace and ensure that all employees know to use them. You can even purchase compostable napkins and paper towels. Reduce the amount of waste you generate overall is key.
7. Go paperless
Most workplaces nowadays rely mostly on digital platforms for work. It is still essential to move away from printed documents where possible and encourage others to work on their digital skills for the workplace. Not only will going paperless help save the environment, but it also saves money for the company! And if you do need to use paper for something, make sure you recycle it when you’re done.
8. Choose Fair Trade
Everyone loves to have a good cup of coffee to get themselves ready for the workday. Coffee goes through an intensive, environmentally unfriendly production method and often comes in unrecyclable packaging (such as coffee pods). Choosing Fair Trade coffee is often more sustainable and the waste from coffee grounds can be put into the compost bin you put in place earlier for food waste.
9. Use recharchable batteries
Small appliances in the workplace often need batteries. Instead of single-use batteries which have a significant impact on the environment right from sourcing the materials all the way through to discarding after use, consider buying rechargeable batteries. Where single-use batteries are used, ensure they are disposed of correctly. Most supermarkets have a battery bin, but it might also be good to set one up in your workplace.
10. Encourage others to engage
Finally, and this is perhaps the simplest task you can do, encourage your colleagues, managers, bosses, friends and family to do the same! Spreading the word and raising awareness about sustainable living is going to be key in achieving a more sustainable world. It doesn’t all need to be doom and gloom either (as many people we talk to have this issue), there are lots of positive stories out there to inspire us to do better. You can also calculate what your own carbon footprint is using the free WWF Footprint Calculator tool, complete this and share with others to compare your footprint.
We are now paving the way for future generations to thrive and for the Earth to flourish, so join us in celebrating Earth Day 2022 and take the first steps on your journey to sustainable living…
We support businesses at every stage through our unique blend of consultancy, online learning, and communications services. The journey is different for every client but will always involve the key principles of resource management, reducing waste and embracing circularity. To learn more about how Wylde Connections can help transform your business, please visit: www.wyldeconnections.co.uk.
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