With the recent media attention surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans around the world, there is no better time for business to review it's own impact on the environment, make positive changes, reduce wastage, promote innovation and reap rewards in more sales and operational efficiencies.
Being seen as green is a growing requirement these days for most businesses and who wants to be responsible for causing unwanted waste that stretches local resources? Who wants to run a business that creates harmful waste?
Every business has scope to make efficiencies by reducing waste and single use plastics by:
Can the products and services you buy be replaced with more environmentally conscious alternatives?
Are there any incentives available for buying green products? As a flag printer, we found ways to move away from harmful inks to water based inks that can be safely disposed of by our ink suppliers (and we get free ink in return)
Can your suppliers remove plastic from their packaging?
We saved over 2,500 single use plastic bags with just one order for example.
Can you reuse or recycle packaging coming into your business?
Another area of the business that we continue to innovate in is how to recycle or reuse packaging coming into our goods received department. We have found novel ways to reuse this packaging (cardboard and bubble wrap for example) and we encourage our customers to reuse this packaging as well.
Innovation starts by reviewing your own processes to see where reductions in waste can be made and exploring novel ways in which this waste can be reused or recycled.
Here is just a few internal innovations we have developed:
We developed an eco product based on stitching off cuts of flag and display fabric together and this offers environmentally conscious customers an affordable POS product that reduces landfill.
Our portable flag systems now come with a range of plastic free base solutions, including wood and metal based options.
At a local level, we endeavour to deliver orders using a bicycle, rather than taking the easy option and jumping in a company vehicle.
Offering customers discounts to purchase in bulk is also a great way to reduce wastage in packaging, courier or postage charges.
Incentivising customers to return product that can be reused or recycled is another great way to make your business more efficient, encourage customer loyalty (with a discount or free gift incentive) and reinforce a green image.
Another very worthwhile and cost effective way to help the environment is to join a national or local carbon offsetting scheme. This is where you offset the businesses' own CO2 emissions into a project that reduces these to zero.