Guidance for going green

It seems bizarre to think it now, but pollution was once seen as a matter of pride. During the Industrial Revolution, writer Charles Dickens romantically referred to the clouds of black smog that belched from the factories and chimneys of his home city as “London ivy”. Today’s writers know there is nothing natural about the climate crisis we are living through, in which an estimated 7 million people are dying worldwide each year from causes linked to air pollution.

And industries which have for decades contributed heavily to CO2 emissions, are under more pressure than ever to improve the way they operate. (For trends in fashion, specifically, check out our post on eco-fashion trends; plus, check out our guide to printing custom bags on sustainable jute material.) 

For any brand, running a more green business is a challenge – but one that’s well worth taking on for the future of our planet. Here are some simple tips to get you started.

Stop wasting paper

According to research by Kyocera, the average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day, a staggering two-thirds of which is considered waste. We print receipts, make endless photocopies, and throw away documents that only get read once. Some paper use is inevitable, but we can all be more resourceful in this area, by emailing invoices and receipts instead of printing them, always printing documents double-sided, and scanning documents instead of printing them; recycling paper when we can, and reusing envelopes, folders and jiffy bags.

Use reusable cups

In the UK, we use around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year, more than 99% of which are not recycled. It’s an incredible amount of waste that can be quite easily avoided, and over the past few years, the big coffee chains have started to incentivise their customers to bring their own reusable cups into store, by offering discounts or loyalty points.

If you run a food and drinks business, it’s really worth doing the same. Not only will you cut your waste dramatically, you’ll also please your eco-minded customers. And no matter what business you’re in, you can help your employees by providing mugs in the office (and a nice coffee machine, if you can stretch to it!) so they’re less likely to bring in takeaway drinks.

Sort out your lighting

Walk through London city centre in the evening and you’ll see offices everywhere lit up, with no-one inside. So many businesses leave their lights on 24/7, and that is a huge waste of energy, not to mention money. Installing timers will ensure that the lights are only on when they need to be. You can also switch traditional bulbs for LED lights to save energy. The original outlay will be a little more, but they’ll save you money in the long term, because each one lasts an incredible three to five years – that’s 60 times longer than a standard bulb.

Get flexible

Skype and WhatsApp have made it so easy for us to communicate remotely with colleagues across the world, so think carefully about whether you need to take business trips across the country, or abroad. Our commutes, whether in cars, buses, or trains, are harmful to the environment. So if you can allow your team to work from home on occasion, do. You’ll not only be helping to cut C02 emissions from the transport system, you’ll save energy on lighting, heating and water in your office. Plus, your staff will definitely thank you for being able to work in their pyjamas. 

Want to create organic, sustainable merch for your brand or business? ICON Printing can offer a range of sustainable garment and printing options, and offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.