The drive towards sustainable, eco-friendly living is normally targeted at the domestic sphere. With a popular demand for environmentally friendly products like washing up liquid and shampoo, as well as community recycling services, there seems to be a general assumption that if you are doing your bit at home that will suffice. However, the workplace is a breeding ground for waste, which adds to the growing landfills that are contributing to an increasingly less sustainable way of life. Indeed changing the way in which businesses choose to operate is integral in progressing towards a more sustainable future. How can businesses reduce waste and become more sustainable? A good place to start is to note what current businesses are doing wrong, and learn from their mistakes, while emulating other businesses who are making impressive steps in the movement towards sustainable business models.
Cut Down E-Waste
A significant contributor to the amount of business waste is Apple, which is constantly re-designing its products, making the old models redundant as the latest version take precedence. For example, Apple got rid of laptops with DVD drives in favour of super lightweight MacBooks. The latest development in Apple products is to deem the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone fit for the bin, as users are expected to make way for the new iPhone 7. Replacing the audio jack would force iPhone users to buy new headphones, which will produce more electronic waste.
Having said that, electronic companies like Apple are acknowledging the need for waste reduction, as David Nield from The Guardian writes: “Apple has committed to using fewer materials in its designs and runs a recycling scheme”.
The fact is there is a growing need amongst consumers and the manufacturer to replace products with new models, no matter if they are still functional or not. The amount of e-waste would surely see a significant reduction if electronic companies, like Apple, did not create such an increasing demand for the latest technology.
Sustainable Business Practices
Waste produced by the technology industry need not dominate landfills. There are companies working in the industry who make impressive attempts to reduce waste. Web hosting companies like 1&1, have a green energy policy which includes the initiative to enforce paperless bills, meaning all billing statements are sent via email, saving a significant amount of paper each year.
If you are considering starting your own business, it is important to write your own environmental policy. Remember it is not only about what practices your company enforces, it is also important to associate with other sustainable business models. For example, if you are outsourcing web developers and SEO experts for your online marketing strategy, make sure they also enforce sustainable business practices. We would recommend using companies like 1&1 , who offer free tools to check to see if the site is well optimised, and offer advice on increasing natural linking to improve your SEO ranking, all with a guilt free environmental conscience.