What can I do to make my small business more sustainable?

Business Recycling makes recycling at work easy. Call their hotline for tips: 1300 763 768.

The Department of Planning and Environment also has plenty of tips and programs to help small businesses become more sustainable, from energy efficiency to improved productivity.

Find out more about business sustainability

Tips for sustainable business

There are many ways to make your business more sustainable:

  • Reduce meeting costs: make a phone call instead of holding a meeting, send an email rather than posting, conduct virtual meetings to save the cost of making business trips.
  • Minimise using materials: archive computer files rather than print files, advertise on your website rather than in brochures, email your promotional material rather than posting it.
  • Reduce waste: re-use old envelopes, have staff use their own mugs, get printer cartridges refilled not replaced and buy recycled stationery supplies.
  • Recycle it: recycle everything you can't reuse - check with the council what they will recycle. Set up recycling bins in locations staff will use them. A good way to involve staff is to hold a regular office book, clothing or DVD swap day.
  • Turn it off: switch off lights, computers, printers and appliances at the power point when not in use - they will last longer and your power bills will be considerably reduced.
  • Outsource it: reduce your server needs and cut power costs by using cloud computing services (web-based data storage) and use virtual office services or outside contractors rather than expand office space.
  • Reduce it: turn down the air conditioner - lowering the temperature just one degree on a hot day can increase your energy costs by 10 per cent. Reduce energy consumption further by: using cut-out switches to cut out standby power usage, installing automatic lighting sensors, having power supplied by green energy providers, choosing hybrid cars for your fleet vehicles. In the office kitchen, reduce water and power consumption by running office dishwashers when full, fixing leaky taps and reducing the hot-water temperature setting.
  • Buy green: get some green credentials by setting up a sustainable supply policy and guidelines, and send a checklist to your suppliers asking about their sustainable products and services. Ask printers for recycled paper, replace defunct equipment with high-energy efficiency models with a long shelf life.

Also look at your accounts and see where the money is unnecessarily spent. If stationery and paper supplies are costly, set up a task force to minimise paper waste. If staff travel costs are high, investigate video conferencing.

When you upgrade your green credentials, not only will your costs go down, your business will attract more clients seeking sustainable goods or services.