“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”Barbara Ward
As the end of May draws near, and Green Month comes to a close, there are still hundreds of things I could talk about relating to living sustainably and protecting the earth. This series was a chance for our Summiteers to discuss what is important to them, what they hope to see the future, and to help people see that really going green is a lot easier than we may think. And the top tips we’ve seen have given us lots to think about, but we’re not finished just yet…
While we’ve talked a lot about reusable products and the little things we each do in our lives around our homes to help us live more sustainably, one of the other topics we haven’t looked at yet is our Summit office life. One of the questions I asked everyone was what they thought we could do on our return to the office to help make Summit as a whole a more eco-friendly company.
Recycling was an answer that came up a lot from our Summiteers, and while it’s easy for them to do at home, in the office it becomes trickier.
“More emphasis on recycling please!” says Darren. “I see far too many colleagues putting plastic in general waste and don’t want to have to be that guy that has to call it out.”
Jill would also like us to all be a little more “mindful about waste, and recycling properly” and while Vicky mentions that we already do a fairly good job of being green where we can (we don’t print unless it’s necessary, a lot of our lights are automatic and therefore turn off when not in use) is there more we could be doing?
“I would love to see a reduction in single-use plastic. If the fruit bowl was stocked full of fruit from a local or independent grocer rather than a huge supermarket where it arrives covered in plastic, that would make a huge change for me personally!” said Beth. “As a company that loves a fully stocked fruit bowl, and always has snacks available, this is certainly something we should be doing.”
But it’s not just our food packaging. Should we be switching all of our products to eco-friendly ones, from tech-y items, right down to our pens? Well why not? The Green Office exists, and they have one of widest selections of sustainable office products around.
“The Green Office only select stationery and recycled paper products that are environmentally benign or have clear environmental advantages over standard stationery items. We firmly believe that purchasing green office stationery is essential in reducing the huge amount of waste generated by our throw-away product culture.”
Not only do they provide great green products, they even offset the carbon emissions associated with their product deliveries by planting a tree for each order. What’s not to love?
Taking notes from our top tip this week, there’s other brands we could look to bring into the company too.
Whogivesacrap provide toilet roll and kitchen roll subscriptions, with deliveries as often as you need, and all the packaging is fully recyclable. With an office of 60+ people, the amount of plastic wrapping that comes around our toilet roll? Ouch. This is a significant difference we could make with the click of one button!
Smol too – many of our Summiteers mentioned this brand when asked which ones they love to use around the home, but what is stopping us bringing them into the office for our dishwashers and cleaning products, cutting down on those detergent bottles that are not only a ridiculous shape and size but no one’s ever quite sure if you can recycle them, are they?
It’s not just Summit that has room to improve, however. We put a poll out to our LinkedIn followers earlier this week, asking how they felt about their own company’s practises. While 64% said their workplace had some practices in place, they felt that more could definitely be done.
Unfortunately, 14% said there was absolutely nothing in place – and given how easy it can be nowadays to swap your products out for recyclable ones, or to buy something without plastic packaging, it certainly seems a shame that not all businesses make this a focus.
Overall, it’s been a busy month – we’ve learnt lots about new products that our Summiteers love, the brands they are loyal to, and some of the sacrifices they’ve made on their path to a greener lifestyle (Darren and his meat-free dinners spring to mind.)
But there is one thing that became really clear throughout this month; everyone has the capacity to make little changes that suit them. Whether it’s changing your electricity provider (something which you may not even notice), or simply just sounding like your parents and remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room. All these little things add up, and together, they can make a drastic change to the world in which we live. And it’s these little changes that we can bring into our workplaces too, they don’t have to be saved for our homes.
As Alex said in Week 2, “small moves! If we all keep doing small moves in the right direction the momentum will be unstoppable.”