With each passing year, it is becoming more crucial to ensure that your workplace is working towards boosting workplace sustainability and becoming more sustainable.

Everybody needs to play their part so that together we can all ensure that our planet does not perennially succumb to the damage climate change.

Now, of course it is easy to say that. But just exactly how do you go about boosting sustainable practices in your workplace?

It can feel like a daunting prospect.

However, the most important thing is making the changes that you can.

So even if you can’t immediately implement everything in this article, every little helps when comes to tackling climate change.

Important to note is that a report by Unilever revealed that a third of consumers are more inclined to purchase from sustainable businesses as opposed to non-sustainable businesses.

With that being said, here are 5 tips on how you can boost sustainability in your workplace.

1. Implement Recycling Programmes

Set up easily accessible recycling stations throughout the workplace for paper, plastic, glass, and other recyclable materials. Educate employees on proper recycling practices.

A great first step on the path to boosting workplace sustainability is as simple as setting up a recycling programme.

Studies have shown that huge numbers of businesses have still not implemented a recycling programme in the workplace.

This has contributed to landfills around the country overflowing with waste because when recyclable items are not recycled, they will end up in landfills.

This causes landfills to become too full and as a result more landfill spaces will have to be created.

You’re probably thinking, ‘But, there can’t just be infinite designated landfill sites.’

And you’re right.

When new landfill sites have to be built, they are built on natural land that could have been utilised for a whole number of positive things.

Instead, the landfill takes up essential space and becomes a beehive of pollution.  

By setting up a recycling programme in your workspace, you can prevent plastics ending up in landfill, conserving natural resources, and lower the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Not to mention, showcasing a commitment to recycling will show your stakeholders that your business understands the responsibility of operating a business in 2023.

To begin, you can decide which exact materials your recycling programme will allow to be recycled and identify the companies and sites in your local area that will pick up your recycling materials.

Consider starting with commonly recycled materials like paper and plastic and expand to other materials as the program progresses.

Once you have established how recyclable materials will be collected, stored, and transported to recycling facilities with a local waste management company and agreed a schedule, you can obtain the bins and containers you will need for your recycled materials.

Ensuring these bins and containers are correctly labelled regarding what can be placed in them is essential so that staff and visitors do not place recyclable items in general waste bins.

If you really want to hammer home the importance of recycling to your team, then education and training days are a great way to ensure that everyone in the workplace knows the importance of recycling and understand exactly how to sort and recycle materials.  

To learn more about how you can encourage your staff to participate in your recycling programme, this article from Unisan provides a great guide.

Like everything on this list, small steps are betting no steps at all, so work towards setting up a recycling programme at whatever pace you can.

2. Go paperless

Minimise paper usage by embracing digital alternatives.

Encourage electronic documentation, digital communication, and file sharing platforms.

When printing is necessary, use recycled paper and print double-sided.

Working towards a paperless office is one of the most important steps businesses can take in order to boost workplace sustainability.

What’s more, going paperless can also be cheaper and more efficient for your office!

Going 100% paperless overnight of course won’t be possible, but there are things you can do almost immediately that will allow your workplace to reduce paper usage.

You can begin by doing something as simple as printing paper double sided to reduce your paper usage.

You can encourage your staff to ditch paper notepads and instead take notes on their laptop or computer or any other available digital device.

In order to get a clear idea of exactly how much paper is being used within your workplace you can undertake a paper usage audit. This way you can identify the areas you can effectively cut down on paper usage and replace with digital alternatives.

At this point, you can set targets for your workplace to achieve and dates you hope to achieve these targets.

Employees who showcase a clear dedication to lowering their paper usage can be rewarded for their efforts.

As your paperless journey continues, you can begin to implement cloud storage systems and specific software for specific departments.

For example, here at Sustainable Facilities Management, we use the field management software, JobLogic.

This software has allowed us to eradicate the use of paper job sheets as the maintenance team have access to all the information they need on their tablets.

Even if you have to pay for certain software, you will be able to save money on printing and paper.

Your paper documents can be scanned so that everyone can have access to digital copies. A step further can be making the switching any company resources such as brochures to digital formats.

This way, you can send these via email to prospects or you could even utilise QR codes that would allow prospects to scan and download any resources.

This article from Forbes highlights just how environmentally beneficial a paperless office can be as well as the ways it can add to the success of your business.

Just remember that something is ALWAYS better than nothing.

Don’t be dismayed if you can’t be perfect immediately.

3. Provide Reusable Water Bottles for Staff

Company branded refillable water bottles are a great way to boost workplace sustainability.

And let’s face it, everybody loves being gifted free stuff.

So, why not use this to your advantage and take away any excuses your team may have regarding why they are not using a refillable water bottle.

Studies have shown that 500 billion plastic cups are used every year throughout the world.

Even worse is that over 90% of plastic is not recycled, instead ending up in landfills and in the ocean.    

Sometimes all someone needs a little nudge in the right direction.

By providing your staff with refillable water bottles, you are giving them the nudge they may need to start working towards a more sustainable workplace.

Plus, branded water bottles will help provide a further picture of unity within your business.

4. Electric Vehicles

This one won’t apply to every business, but if staff in your workplace are provided with company cars, then looking into switching those cars to electric vehicles is a brilliant way to boost workplace sustainability.

Important to note here is that although electric vehicles may initially be more costly than traditional cars, in the long run they will be much cheaper to run and as a result you will be able to save money.

This is one of the more costly methods on the list, however, the positive environmental impact of electric vehicles will illuminate to clients and prospects that your business is making major strides in becoming a sustainable leader.

Studies have shown that just a single electric vehicle being on the road rather than a petrol-powered car can save 1.5 million grams of CO2 over the course of a year.

So even if to begin with you can only replace one of your company cars with an electric vehicle, this would still have a great environmental impact. 

Plus, there is no better way to illuminate to potential clients that your business cares about the environment than your branded electric vehicle swiftly maneuvering through the streets.

This article from the RAC gives a balanced and nuanced view on electric vehicles and will provide you with great additional information on electric vehicles if you are still contemplating on making the switch for you company vehicles.

5. Reduce Disposable Plastics

This one links in heavily with providing staff with refillable water bottles, but it is still important to embellish on the topic of single use plastics.

A study in 2017 found that 146 million metric tons of plastic was used for packaging production.

As mentioned earlier on in this post, most plastic does not end up in recycling, so you can get a clear idea of just how much of the plastic produced every year is ending up in landfills.

So, what can you do to help fight against plastic and boost workplace sustainability ?

Well, after you have handed out refillable water bottles, you can encourage staff to avoid the use of plastic cutlery.

Having metal or even wooden cutlery available for use in the workplace will give people no excuse to be using plastic utensils.

Encourage staff to either purchase food that is packed environmentally friendly or to bring in their own food in reusable containers.

The possibilities are endless, you just need to make a start.