As we grow, we are focused on developing an eco-friendly personalised gift business with a commitment to a sustainable future.

Environmental awareness has never been so important than it is today andwith numerous worldwide events, from flooding to heat waves, occurring every month, the impact of climate change cannot be clearer.

In this ultimate guide, we will offer tips and ideas on how every business can work to towards creating a more eco-friendly, environmentally sensitive, workplace as well as outline some of the ways we are changing how we work as a business.

Part A. Making Your Website Greener

Part B. Sustainable Off-site Marketing & Packaging

Part C. Tips On Making Your Workplace More Eco-Friendly

Part D. Eco-Conscious Products & Production Practices

Part A. Making Your Website Greener

With lockdown having accelerated online shopping, your website is where many customers will first interact with your business. This is a great place to start when looking to become more eco-friendly.

1. Calculate your effect on the environment using free tools

In order to reduce your effect on the environment, you first need to understand its carbon footprint and the impact that your website has on the environment.

You may not think this is the first place to look when becoming more sustainable but unlike physical shops, websites are operational 24/7, so they have the potential to account for a huge proportion of your carbon footprint that you may have overlooked.

To measure the impact of your website, we've found some free, easy to use tools which you can use. These calculate carbon footprint and provide useful tips on what you can do to minimise your carbon emissions.

- Website Carbon - a free, easy to use tool which outlines your carbon impact in a striking infographic, comparing your total carbon footprint per 10,000 page views to real world weight, trees and car journeys.

- Ecograder - provides a more detailed breakdown of where you can improve

You will probably be shocked by the results but how can you reduce this and become more sustainable?

The bottom line is that the more energy efficient your site is, the lower its carbon footprint will be as it uses less electricity which is generated from carbon producing sources.  

If you are tecy-savy there is a whole host of things you can do technically to reduce energy consumption on your website. Find out 17 ways to make your website more energy efficient by reading this post by Wholegrain Digital.

However, one of the easiest ways to reduce your online carbon footprint is by going green with the services you use to connect to internet, run your website and store your data in the most energy efficient way possible.

2. Choose an internet provider which uses sustainable energy

This is one of the easiest ways to immediately reduce carbon footprint online and similar to switching your home's energy supplier, it is relatively easy to do. 

Here are some of the best green broadband choice in the UK

3. Run your website using a technology that is carbon neutral 

Websites are energy hungry, so using a platform which is carbon-neutral and has the same goal of sustainability, is a great way to help you achieve your aim of becoming more eco-friendly. 

We use Shopify as our all-in-one solution for our website. Its values align with ours in striving for a more sustainable future, and the entire platform is carbon-neutral, with a strong commitment to becoming carbon negative.

4. Store your data in the cloud

Not only is storing your data in the cloud another easy way to help the environment, it also has benefits that help you to become more productive, allowing your team to access data from anywhere and reduce unnecessary trips to the office.

For those unfamiliar with the cloud, it is a collection of data centers located around the globe, designed specifically to store data as energy efficiently as possible. You don't need to look too far for green cloud services ; most of the biggest in names in tech have already reduced their carbon footprint.

The most popular services include Google Drive, Amazon Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox.

So we've covered everything you need to know about making your website more green but what about all the off-site marketing?

Part B. Sustainable Off-Site Marketing And Packaging

5. Use recycled paper for promotional materials

Whether you are printing flyers, business cards or thank you notes for orders, using recycled paper is a really cost effective way of leaving a lasting impression on your customer, but not on the environment. 

6. Use plastic-free packaging

As awareness increases about the impact of our day-to-day life on the environment, packaging is great opportunity to show your commitment to sustainability.

If you are looking to reduce your use of plastic, good alternatives include kraft paper, tissue paper or shredded cardboard. If it isn't possible to completely replace plastic, you should try to at least make sure all packaging is recyclable.

7. Why not try plantable packaging

This new innovative packaging, takes the concept of zero-waste to a whole new level. Not only is the carbon footprint zero, it actually contributes to improving our environment, by having seeds embedded within the packaging which grow when planted. If you are looking for seed paper or paper that grows, be sure to have a look at Hatchprint, DynamicprintWidlflower Favours.

8. Avoid over-packaging

One of the simplest ways to reduce waste, is by making sure your packaging is suitable for the specific product,  by choosing boxes with dimensions best suited to your product.

This can reduce the need for filler and allows you to communicate your brand as one that care about the environment. You'll also have fewer returns of broken products as products will be more secure and you'll help the planet.

9. Make sure you are not delivering with a dirty company

According to The Dirty Delivery Report by Money.co.uk, Royal Mail is the most carbon conscious delivery company, reducing carbon emission by 29% since 2005.

Getting an order to a customer is by far the most carbon intensive part of an orders entire journey, which is why choosing a company that is taking steps to minimise its carbon footprint will have a huge effect on your overall footprint as a company or small business. 

Part C. Tips On How To Make Your Workplace More Eco-Friendly

10. Use a clean method of transport to commute 

As live returns to normal and you start commuting to the office again, using a clean method of transport is a great way to cut your individual carbon footprint and ultimately your company's. 

If you live close enough, consider cycling, even if it is just once or twice a week, or if you are bit further away, try to use public transport where possible.

However, if you'd prefer to drive, consider purchasing an electric vehicle. We recently switched our company car to a Volkswagen's ID.3 to become more carbon neutral. To find out more about electric car's and their benefits, read this article from EDF energy.

Depending on your business, you may be elgible for an electric vehicle charging point grant. Check here.

11. Go paperless

Going paperless helps reduce deforestation, which leaves more trees to absorb carbon dioxide and reduce global carbon levels. It also has a huge range of benefits:

- Access all the information you need anywhere, anytime, when you use the cloud to store you data, 

- Find the right piece of information faster. According to HelpSystems, it’s estimated that employees spend one-third of their time looking for paper documents. Going paperless speeds up your workflow, allowing you to be more productive with your day.

If, due to the nature of your business, going completely paperless isn't an option for you, make sure you recycle any paper, and print double-sided to reduce paper wastage.

Alternatively, using eraseable whiteboards is another good way to avoid using endless sheets of paper.

12. Power your office with renewable energy

 You don't need solar panels on your office roof to be powered by green energy (electricity produced from renewable sources). There are now numerous green energy tarrifs available from the big six energy suppliers, and as these tarrifs become increasingly competitive, they may be cheaper than the conventional variable rate tarrifs you currently pay.

If you are looking for the best green energy supplier for your business, have a look at this guide from T3.

13. Don't use standby and turn the thermostat down

Leaving computer equipment on over the weekend, or during holidays, could cost you anywhere from £35 up to £6,000 a year, depending on whether you prefer working from home or the office.

Turning your computer off during lunch, or when you've finished work, could save at least 5 hours of energy per week. 

14. Use eco-friendly and biodegradable products for cleaning

More important now more than ever, with enhanced cleaning regimes due to Covid-19, eco-friendly cleaning products can help the environment.

Most cleaning products contain harmful chemicals but by switching to non-toxic cleaners, you can reduce the negative impact on nature, whilst also keeping your employees safe and healthy.

Switching to compostable bin liners is a good way to dispose of your food and organic waste in a more environmentally responsible way, whilst also reducing your plastic use.

We use Jantex compostable liners which are made from plant-based PLA and fully compost in 3 to 4 weeks, meaning the bags won't contaminate or harm the environment when they break down. It is the perfect way to dispose of waste in a sustainable way.

15. Recycle

You think it would be obvious, but according to businesswaste.co.uk, a whopping 80% of companies don't recycle, and with landfill tax currently at £94.15 per tonne, it's not only harmful to the environment but a costly way to dispose of waste. 

Having clearly marked and accessible recycling bins can greatly benefit the environment but also reduce your waste costs significantly.

16. Ditch Cups For Mugs (or Compostable Cups)

If you work in an office based environment, you probably have at least one cup of coffee or tea a day. If you're using disposable cups, this can be incredibly wasteful as more often than not single-use paper cups are recycled very rarely, due to the plastic polythene lining which makes them waterproof. They can only be recycled at one of 3 plants across the UK that are able to separate the plastic so the paper can be recycled, and as a result only 1% actually end up being recycled.

To reduce waste, consider using compostable cups , reusable mugs or water bottles, which can be used over and over again, reduce waste, and help keep the environment clean.

17. Energy Efficient Lighting

LED lights conserve energy and last much longer than conventional light bulbs, while brightly illuminating the room. Making use of natural light is also a good way to reduce reliance on indoor lighting, and by installing sensors and timers, you can not only reduce your energy bills but only use energy when neccessary.

18. Eco-friendly office supplies

When buying supplies for your office, considering buying products made from recycled materials rather than raw materials as this helps preserve natural resources.

19. Get a desk plant

Wherever you work, adding a plant to your desk improves indoor air quality as plants produce oxygen, creating a cleaner, happier space for you to work in. 

20. Offset your carbon emissions

Inevitable there will be a portion of your company's carbon footprint that you can't reduce to zero but you can offset it through various organisation to become carbon-neutral.

Some of the most popular schemes include:

Earthly - helps you calculate you carbon footprint, find the right natural solutions and ultimately become carbon-neutral.

Ecologi - plants trees and you grow your own forest to become carbon neutral.

 

 Part D. Eco-Conscious Products & Production Practices

20. Use sustainable materials to create new products

When sourcing materials for new products, it is cruical to only use resources that are abundant and renewable.

For many of our wooden products, we use bamboo as it is the fastest growing plant on earth and a highly sustainable renewable resource, reaching full size in just 3-4 months.

21. Use alternatives to popular materials

Sometimes the most popular materials are also the most damaging to the environment. We're moving away from leather and using cork leather, a great alternative that is not only 100% eco-friendly, but is light, durable and ethical.

 

I hope you have found this blog post useful, as you can see there are countless ways to become more eco-friendly both in day to day life and while at work. Even just doing one of these things can help reduce your carbon footprint and create a more sustainable world.

Here at The Personal Shop, we aim to offer you the best personalised gifts in the UK, from small businesses and our own range. Each gift is made to order and wherever possible is packaged using recyclable, plastic-free materials.  

Eco-friendlyPackaging tips