How can my business reduce its Carbon Footprint?
How can my business reduce its Carbon Footprint?
Many businesses are making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint in 2021. President Biden has stated that he intends to make the ‘Green New Bill’ a priority of his administration and big and small companies are finding new and innovative ways to get on board and reduce their Carbon Footprint.
“But what IS a Carbon Footprint?” You may wonder…” My business doesn’t release any gasses!” Well, you would be surprised. Everything we do during the day uses energy and other resources. These resources create emissions of various gasses. While MOST of these emissions come from burning fossil fuels, others come from things like deforestation and even generating electricity!
While your business ITSELF may not produce gasses, the vehicles you operate, foods you eat and even your digital storage ALL create and contribute to your carbon footprint.
Think about it. When you order a burger off Door Dash… it’s not JUST the trash that comes with the burger its…. the equipment and gas used to till the fields, plant the crops, harvest the crops, transport the crops to feed the cow. Gas is used to transport the animals to the slaughterhouse. All the parts and equipment that makes up the slaughter house was made SOMEWHERE in a factory which caused… you guessed it… GAS EMISSIONS! Look at ALL these emissions and the cow isn’t even dead yet! It still has to be processed, packaged and transported TO the restaurant. And don’t even get me started on all their single use plastics… Now we’re not saying don’t eat burgers anymore (although the vegans in the house would all sing your praises and shower you with bird seed) we’re just saying to be more MINDFUL when you DO order a burger!
So, how can you REDUCE your carbon footprint? We will break down some EASY ways you, and your business, can become more eco-friendly!
Transportation is the LARGEST source of carbon emissions in the United States. Yeah, we know we all have to get around. We need our cars for commutes, trains and planes to transport goods and and and… but here are a couple ideas to help reduce those gas emissions along the way.
- Utilize Zoom. Can this business meeting happen virtually or does every member REALLY need to get in their cars and drive in?
- Carpool! Catch a ride with a friend. Encourage employees to do the same!
- Combine Errands. Send ONE person out to get coffee, copies and pick up those new spec ads. Save time and energy by having ONE vehicle out running instead of THREE
- Considering purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles like a hybrid when it’s time to upgrade. Not only will this greatly reduce your emissions, but it will save you money on gas!
- Service your vehicles regularly. Paying proper attention to maintenance and upkeep can keep your vehicles running more efficiently. Checking tire pressure and staying current on oil changes can increase fuel efficiency.
- Be mindful when you fly. Hopping on a plane and jetting off may be easier than taking a bus or train, but flights are a MAJOR contributor to our Carbon Footprints. Take longer and fewer trips. If you’re visiting Europe maybe take a train instead of flying.
Land use accounts for the bulk of your food’s carbon footprint. Reduce this by choosing products that are locally produced. Shop the local farmers markets or grocery stores. Products imported by air takes SIX TIMES the carbon emission/mile, plus they taste better AND you’re supporting your community!
There are loads of simple solutions to reduce your food waste, without making any huge lifestyle changes such as….. →
- Plan out a weekly menu and shop accordingly. Try to consolidate your purchases. One big box of pasta can make TWO meals this week etc…
- Take stock of your fridge regularly, especially before shopping, so you don’t buy multiples.
- Shop more often, and buy less each trip to prevent food from spoiling.
- Freeze leftovers to extend the life of your food.
- Set up Recycling bins at your office, and encourage your employees to recycle.
- Find a local butcher and buy in bulk! This reduces the emissions required to transport and wrap each individual pound of ground beef.
- Don’t forget to ask for a doggie bag for restaurant leftovers, and be sure to EAT THEM!
- DITCH THE SINGLE USE PLASTICS! Plastic bags, saran wrap, plastic containers … do mother nature a favor and Invest in some reusable plastic bags! Store your foods in REUSABLE Tupperware instead.
Start an Office/ Community Garden! We decided to start a garden at our Office this year. We have kept it all organic, and have been able to get EVERYONE involved! We have had Salsa Making Days (with items right from our garden!), We have made Fried Green Tomatoes, and eaten ‘mater sandwiches and zucchini until we thought we would pop. We’ve donated items to our local Food Pantries, and even sold some fresh herbs at the local Farmers Market! We even have a group of home school kids coming out to help us plant our FALL plants and learn about how THEY can make sustainability a part of their lives. The best part is we ALWAYS have a window FULL of tomatoes, peppers and more to grab and take home. Not only are we eating more fresh produce, we’re also reducing the amount we need to buy, which cuts down the overall carbon footprint of your diet. It doesn’t get more local than fresh parsley or tomatoes from your own backyard, balcony or windowsill.
Did you know that even organic waste generates methane as it decomposes? IN FACT, it’s the third largest source of methane emissions in the USA. By composting your food waste, you can not only reduce emissions, but you are creating an amazing fertilizer for your garden!
Installing a programmable or smart thermostat is a great way to make a BIG change, with very LITTLE effort. A programmable thermostat will help regulate temperatures in your office, and will help make you more energy efficient. Leaving the office a little warmer in summer or cooler in winter can also help save energy. Switching out to LED lightbulbs will not only last 25x longer, but use 75% less energy than other bulbs.
Conserve water. Consider ditching the expensive flower arrangements out front for a gorgeous hardscape. Water the grass every other day instead of EVERY day. Turn the sprinklers OFF when rain is expected. Utilize a moisture retaining landscaping fabric like WeedEnder to not only keep your plants looking greener longer, but to reduce your landscaping expenses drastically! If you’re a gardener, installing a rain barrel is a fun and easy way to save water, too. And if you have planted a garden, You can use the water collected instead of using the hose to prevent more water waste.
Did you know that a DIGITAL carbon footprint is a thing? Going digital-only is a fantastic way to reduce your impact on the environment, but remember that your devices and storage still contributes to your carbon footprint! 2% of the United States electricity is used to power data centers. It’s easy to forget about digital clutter, but all those pictures of food and ‘thank you’ emails take up a lot of energy to store! What does that mean for you? Do an email purge. Sort through those files and DELETE the things you really don’t need.
Unplugging devices that aren’t being used, and installing advanced power strips will reduce the amount of energy that is wasted while electronics are not being used. It will also help lower your energy bill!
Making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint may seem overwhelming, but as you can see, we have listed several ways to EASILY make a change for the better. Sharing what you have learned will not only increase awareness, but it may just inspire others to think about reducing their own carbon footprints.