Sustainability tactics for small teams [Download]

4 minute read •

April 23, 2019

Culture

Simple, low cost, sustainability tactics to get your team started.

The polar caps are melting and every day we’re surrounded by plastic. We all know why sustainability is increasingly important, however in a time that it is more relevant than ever, unfortunately, it is a term often used to promote rather than implement.

When we think about environmental impact in business the most obvious metric is that of large corporates; they’ve got more people, more buildings and more waste. But let’s not underestimate the power of the small team. As individuals, we can make efforts to reduce our waste production in many different ways.

To make it official we started out with a simple internal strategy document with the steps we could take and shared this with the team, encouraging buy-in and ensuring people would actually follow through.

Reduce waste. Recycle more. Be mindful.

  1. Composting – To reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. When organic waste decomposes in landfill it generates methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
  2. Recycling – Most of the plastic we use can be recycled, plastic with HDPE/LDPE letters or a triangle with a number at the bottom of the container indicates that it can be recycled.
  3. Electricity -From lights to aircon, kitchen appliances and computers, being mindful of our electricity usage is of the utmost importance and is an easy way to reduce our carbon footprint.
  4. Printing – Printer toners and cartridges are items we forget that can be recycled in participating retailers.
  5. Outside Consumables – There are a few ways you can minimize these unnecessary contributions to landfill.

We’re sharing our sustainability strategy in the hope it’ll get the conversation going for others.The key to success is ongoing changes instead of any drastic policy overhauls. Download Free Sustainability Strategy for SMEs

For some quick inspiration here are some small sustainable tactics your team can try:

1. Composting

It’s not common knowledge, but organic waste does more damage to our environment when it is in landfill, as it breaks down it produces methane, a gas more potent than carbon dioxide.

Composting is cheap, easy and sustainable. Here is how your workplace can implement this method:

  • Find a suitable size compost bin (this will depend on the size of your work) that will fit a week’s worth of compost.
  • Find out from your local council where compost disposal is available where you can dispose weekly. Your local council should be able to tell you what are the do’s and don’ts of composting.
  • Organise a weekly schedule for disposal.

At Hassl, our compost strategy is led by our eco-officer who collects the compost every Friday afternoon to be emptied out into one of our local council compost disposals.

2. Coffee and single-use plastic

Like most start-ups, our team goes through a lot of coffee, and we’ve made a promise to minimise and eventually eliminate the use of disposable cups or single-use plastic.

  • When you join the team you get a KeepCup.
  • Another way to minimise the use of coffee cups is making coffee at work by investing in a French coffee press, not only do you save dollars on buying coffee, coffee is great for compost!
  • Introduce the idea of bringing our own reusable cutlery for any of our takeaway food and opting out of single-use plastic.

Note: If you have a coffee machine, make sure the pods are recyclable. Nespresso provides a service where you can hand in your pods to get recycled. Before agreeing on a coffee machine in your office, find out if the pods for that machine are recyclable/compostable.

3. Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.

Recycling is important since we already recycle at home, your staff should know how to dispose of recyclable plastic, paper, glass and aluminium in dedicated bins for recycling,

  • Make sure staff are know how to effectively prepare recyclables ie. cleaning them before disposing of them. When recyclables are not prepared correctly they end up in landfill.
  • Reduce or reuse as much as possible.

Our team haven’t reached our sustainability goals yet, but we have made a commitment to contribute to a more eco-focused future, and we are looking forward to working collaboratively to implement new strategies.

To be effective the motivation needs to be built into your business’s values and culture. It is an ongoing process of continuous improvement to create a better business culture around sustainability.

Author

Melanie Buddhipala

Melanie is Hassl's lead UX designer. Mel combines her love for people-centric design and sustainability to create the most efficient, effective and intuitive user experiences.

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