Each year the average office worker in Australia uses around 50kg of paper, and each Australian uses around 230kg of paper products every year. This means a lot of trees are being cut down so we can run our businesses and our lives effectively. In Australia, around 20 fully-grown trees are required to produce a tonne of non-recycled paper.
Businesses in all industries and services, including transport, construction, manufacturing, healthcare and governments, are reducing their environmental footprint this Earth Day by adopting the methods and principles of Lean Thinking.
Creating more sustainable workplaces is an important step towards helping our planet and your business and should not be looked at in isolation. Relying on paper systems means your business is producing more waste and having a negative impact on the environment. While using paper systems may be what most businesses are used to, there are paperless systems out there that provide a more sustainable solution to running a business.
Manage environmental controls with a paperless system
Our environment is changing rapidly, but it does not mean that it can’t change for the better.
The ISO 14001 Standard outlines how your organisation can make a positive change through proactive leadership, communication, green strategy, and life-cycle thinking, and target a leaner approach to business operations.
What is life-cycle thinking?
Life-cycle thinking means that environmental controls are implemented throughout all of your business activity stages, and measures are taken at all levels to eliminate or minimise any possible negative impacts on the environment.
Common environmental controls include:
- Use of electronic solutions instead of paper-based products,
- Use of environmentally friendly chemicals,
- Use of natural light or air-conditioning,
- Use of solar-power systems
- Use of reusable bags, coffee-cups and food containers,
- Use of LED lights,
- Choice of energy efficient appliances,
- Efficient use of electrical appliances,
- Use of video conferencing solutions – instead of travel,
- Use of car-pooling arrangements when traveling,
- Reducing flights, investing in carbon-offset units and more.
No matter what industry you work in, you can make a significant impact on the environment. So why not make it a good impact?
Avoid buying goods with excessive packaging
Although a lot of goods come wrapped in packaging it is important to try and buy the ones with the least amount of packaging. Products covered in plastic are contributing to the plastic waste that is polluting our planet, so it’s better to look for goods that are packaged with cardboard or not packaged at all.
- Ask your team to consider the environment when bringing lunch to work or buying lunch. There is significant waste saved per year if you removed 2 bags a day from your consumption.
- When shopping for the business consider bulk purchasing to remove unnecessary double-ups and pack goods in re-usable carry bags
Ensure paper recycling is available in the office this Earth Day
While most businesses will have recycling bins in the office, if you don’t then it’s a good idea to purchase some. Recycling is a great way to reduce paper waste as it reduces the environmental impact of production by half.
- Make sure that bins are labelled appropriately and that everyone understands what items can be recycled and what items can’t.
- Police poor behaviour and call recurring offenders to task by building a culture focused on environmental thinking and paperless technology.
Put a ‘no junk’ mail sign on your mailbox and ask for electronic correspondence
Avoid receiving unnecessary junk mail by ensuring your business has a sign on the mailbox indicating you don’t want to receive junk mail. And take the same approach to receiving mail from suppliers and customers. Kynection has seen this first hand with our Telstra bills amounting to over 5 reams of paper per month. Insane! Switching to paperless statements saved over 50kg of paper per annum.
- Over 100 million trees are cut down every year to make junk mail, so refusing to accept it will encourage businesses to swap to digital rail rather than paper.
- Consider trying digital marketing such as EDMs or social media advertising using intelligent marketing systems instead of paper.
Reuse paper print outs as note paper
If you are required to print out paper, try re-using the paper for scribbling on afterwards. Although it is generally better to take notes digitally, if there is scrap paper around the office the best way to recycle this is to reuse it for note taking.
- Paper print outs can be turned into note-sized paper and used for writing to-do lists or meeting notes to ensure you aren’t wasting any paper in the office.
- Schools, kindergartens and social centres can use reused paper for all manner of activities. Origami, paper planes, and scrap books are all great secondary uses for used paper. Just make sure that you think about the privacy of individuals and don’t hand out company secrets!
Switch to paperless this Earth Day
Transitioning to a paperless system will have a range of benefits for your business, as well as helping you to create a more sustainable work environment. Having a digital, mobile, and cloud-based system allows you to access data from your computer, phone, or tablet, removing the need for cumbersome paperwork. Your business will be able to reduce their paper waste massively while also transitioning to a more reliable, sustainable system. You will also get other productivity improvements over and above the positive impacts to the environment.
- With a reliable, mobile ready, digital business system, you can analyse data instantly and make sure that workflows are completed in strict accordance with your safety expectations and staff are correctly undertaking their job functions.
- Switching to 100% “one system” mobile and cloud-based technology enables you to synchronise data company wide, so that everyone who needs access to information can do so at the touch of a button from their phone, tablet, or computer.
Becoming “a lean business” this Earth Day is not just changing your environmental habits or implementing a short term cost reduction program, which in their own rights are superb initiatives. It becomes a way the company operates, a shift from the old way of thinking to a new way of thinking which can be applied across every aspect of your business. Technology is often the enabler to achieve lean business practices, but true transformation comes from fostering it as part of your culture
© 2020 Autolync Pty Ltd, trading as Kynection