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Summer Sale Project design

How to reduce the Covid-19 environmental footprint of your business

How to reduce the Covid-19 environmental footprint of your business
Article

While the current lockdown has seen pollution levels worldwide plummet rapidly, the long-term impact of the virus on our environment remains to be seen. Businesses have had to rush to purchase social distancing products and the consumption of disposable items has increased out of necessity to implement safety measures. Here are some things you can do as a business to reduce your environmental impact as the UK starts to come out of lockdown and returns to work.

 

Reduce and recycle waste as much as you can

The need for face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and other hygiene measures means that our use of plastics and consumables has increased once again. Although many of these measures are essential for safety, there are ways to reduce the amount of waste. Providing a centrally accessible hand washing station that can be equipped with one large bottle of antibacterial soap or sanitiser will produce less waste and be more cost effective than providing employees with individual bottles of hand sanitiser. In some workplaces (those that don’t require medical grade PPE), washable reusable face masks may be an option. If it is not possible to reduce the amount of waste you produce further, recycle as much as you can. Provide accessible recycling bins throughout the workplace and encourage employees to sort waste into the right receptacle. This change will allow your business to become greener, not just now but in the long term.

 

Look for long-term dual-purpose solutions

While adapting the workplace for social distancing, look at solutions that could serve other purposes in the long term. For example, desk and floor screens are an effective way to reduce close contact between employees by creating a physical barrier. Many different types are available; acrylic dividers are a popular choice, but fabric screens are just as effective. Investing in the right desk screens for your business now could also be a way to reduce noise levels and improve privacy, both of which are common complaints about open plan offices. By taking the time to purchase solutions that solve a number of problems for the business, there will be less waste produced through the disposal of temporary equipment.

 

Reduce commuting

One of the biggest benefits of the lockdown is that many people now have the tools to work remotely. This could revolutionise the way we work moving forward. As the business returns to work, consider whether it is necessary to have everybody working on site at all times. Encouraging staff to work from home more often would reduce some of the impact that commuting has on your overall carbon footprint. Consider a one-day-a-week policy that gives staff the chance to work from home once a week. Not only will this have a significant impact if all workers are encouraged to take advantage, it will also give employees more flexibility in their work life – something that is often top of the wish list for ways to improve employee satisfaction. Another way to reduce the impact of commuting is to encourage more employees to walk or cycle. With the government currently providing additional support for cyclists and asking people to reduce the reliance on public transport, this is a good time to join a Cycle to Work scheme. This employee benefit costs the business nothing as all costs are recuperated in salary sacrifice and, in fact, the employer can actually save money due to reductions in National Insurance Contributions. All you need to do in make sure you have cycle racks so employees can store their bikes securely during the work day.

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