Sustainable practices are good business practices. Environmentally sustainable practices lower business costs, improve productivity and enhance reputation.
There is a range of simple measures organisations can take to reduce their environmental impact.
Hurstville City Council is committed to implementing environmentally sustainable practices wherever possible in our organisation.
Measures your business can take to reduce its environmental impact include:
The concept of the ‘paperless office’ gained currency in the early 1990s, but still remains largely a dream. Businesses use millions of sheets of paper annually, with much of it becoming landfill and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Suggestions for reducing paper use include:
- use recycled and unbleached printing paper in the office (recycling one tonne of workplace paper saves 13 trees)
- consider recycled paper for materials that are printed offsite (catalogues, brochures etc)
- use your website to communicate with customers, so you don’t need to print so much information
- set printers to print on both sides as a default (every 1000 reams of recycled office paper that is printed double-sided saves two trees and more than one tonne of emissions)
- only print what you need
- use scrap paper to write notes
- recycle all office paper
- spell check documents thoroughly
- don’t use fax coversheets – unnecessary
- send documents by email instead of faxing or mailing
- create an electronic archiving system.
- change settings so that your computer goes into ‘sleep’ mode when it hasn’t been used for more than five minutes
- remove screensavers – they consume the same amount of power as active use of the computer
- switch computers off at the end of the day or when you’ll be gone for long periods
- turn your monitor off when you’re away from the desk for long periods
- purchase high energy star rated products
- change computer screens from cathode ray tube (CRT) to liquid crystal display (LCD)
- purchase green power
- replace conventional lights with efficient compact fluorescent lamps and tubes
- run air conditioning only when necessary.
- install toilet flush regulators or change toilets to dual flush
- monitor water usage and efficiency of air conditioning systems
- install rainwater tanks which can be used for washing vehicles or watering gardens
- choose high water efficiency rated products
- report all leaks and have fixed immediately
- install aerators in all taps.
- bring your own mug to work and take it to your local coffee shop instead of getting takeaway cups – you might even be able to negotiate a discount with your barista
- dry your hands naturally rather than using paper towels or hand dryers
- bring your lunch to work in reusable containers
- recycle plastic bottles, aluminium cans, glass bottles and plastic take away containers (after they’ve been rinsed quickly to remove excess food waste)
- recycle used printer cartridges
- use glassware, cutlery and crockery for staff and guests rather than disposable kitchenware.
- encourage carpooling and provide a system for staff who want to do this
- provide bike racks at work along with showers and change rooms
- hold a regular event for staff who ride to work, such as a free breakfast
- check the Green Vehicle Guide when choosing fleet cars
- travel to meetings on public transport where possible
- consider making teleconference calls rather than travelling long distances to meetings
- offset your emissions when travelling by plane for business.
- purchase recycled toilet paper for staff and customers
- form a committee to champion environmental projects at work
- examine company policies to see if they could be more environmentally sustainable
- provide education and training for new employees on your organisation’s environmental practices
- identify ways to make purchasing more environmentally friendly
- undertake an internal audit of paper, water and energy use as and regularly examine your total waste generation
- consider providing organic or locally produced food for catering occasions
- keep staff involved in the process – people embrace change more readily when they are included in the planning process
There are a number of organisations that can assist businesses in developing and implementing sustainability projects:
Department of Environment and Climate Change – information on licences, policy and regulations and grants and programs for businesses.
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts – information on business sustainability.
Programs and Initiatives
Cartridges 4 Planet Ark
Green Vehicle Guide
Climate Friendly – offset your emissions.
Department of Environment and Climate Change
Energy Efficiency for Small Business Program – program for businesses which around $20,000 in electricity per year or have around 10 employees.
NSW Green Business Program – initiative providing $30 million over five years for projects that save water and energy in NSW business operations.
Sustainability Advantage Program - pinpoints how your business can benefit from environmental sustainability and provides a clear action path.
Sustainability Advantage Energy Saver Program - helping NSW households, government and business save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Water and Energy Action Saving Plans - water and energy savings initiatives encouraging business, government and households to use water and energy more efficiently.
Environmental Management Planning - building a more sustainable business requires a vision that includes an environmental policy and strategy and the steps that will be taken to drive environmental improvement.
Know Your Paper – a guide to purchasing office paper.