1. Walk the walk
Now the journey back to the workplace is starting to happen again, let’s use this as an opportunity to reset our journey to make sure it’s as environmentally friendly as possible. If you’re close enough to work, walk or cycle in, and if you must travel a greater distance why not explore what public transport or car share options are available before you jump straight into your car on autopilot.
2. Long-life hot drinks at your disposal
Many of us like to grab a coffee or tea when we’re out and about, and with every purchase is a wasted chance to do our bit. Why not invest in one long-life cup that you take with you which you ask vendors to fill rather than receiving your hot drink in a disposable cup? Many of us got on board with reducing our plastic straw use a few years ago, why not commit to this too?
3. Don’t be wasteful
Recycling and reducing our waste has never been more important. If your workplace doesn’t have recycling bins, contact whoever is responsible for the building and ask for them to be installed.
Similarly to buying a long-life cup, why not go one step further and purchase a designated shopping bag. You can take this with you to do your food shop rather than constantly adding in plastic bags as you scan your items. If there’s an option of purchasing something that isn’t wrapped in single use plastic, opt for that, or ask around to see if anyone can recommend a shop nearby that are using single use plastics less and shop there; if more of us do this it’ll soon spur on all other shops and supermarkets to follow suit.
4. Be informed
Keeping abreast of what’s happening in the world by watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, reading books, and attending talks really does help to build our knowledge and instil change - who doesn’t love David Attenborough’s documentaries?
We have a designated employee-led network here called Sustainable Futures who create and coordinate a diverse schedule of events and webinars. Things change all the time and new ways of doing things emerge, and the more we understand what’s going on around us in the environment, the impact of our actions, and what we can do to help, the better.
5. Eat local
What we eat contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a big thing to ask anyone to overhaul their whole diet and way of living – it’s not that easy. If it works for you, a vegetarian or vegan diet can help the environment in a variety of well documented ways, but what’s also increasingly salient is that you buy produce grown as locally to your home as possible. If going meat free isn’t for you, try to source your meat from a local organic farmer or butcher. You’ll support local farmers, while reducing your carbon footprint as you do it.
6. Donate or volunteer
If you work somewhere that allows you to have volunteer days, then get involved. We encourage all our colleagues to take their three volunteer days each year, and there’s various conservation initiatives that we can help with when possible.
Why not rally your team together to do something to help in your local area? Take a spare bag with you on days out to the beach or countryside in case you come across any litter that needs removing.
Another great way to contribute to the environment is to give a donation if money allows. There are plenty of charities and initiatives out there that need support.
7. Bee friendly
If you’re lucky to have a garden and are new to gardening, why not start with some pots and grow some pollinator friendly plants. If you’re shorter on space, then hanging baskets or a window box will do the trick. Bees are in decline due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation so we need to encourage them to flourish as one of the key things they do is help crops to grow. It’s thought that an environment where bees thrive is a healthy one as they signify cleaner air and green spaces.
8. Paper free
Nearly everything workwise can be accessed online or in person. It’s a hard habit to break to not have a notepad on our desks but moving that list to Outlook or Teams will prevent you from using so much paper. And when it comes to printing, see what can be done online instead. If you’re sharing documents or running a session with your team, can you link them to an article online rather than printing out copies for them? Some things are unavoidable, but before you press print next time, just take a moment to think if there are any alternatives first.
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