27 ways to shrink your carbon footprint

8. [Continued from point seven] … involve everyone

Use them only to get the message across. This is a team effort. Every member of staff should be committed to cutting the company’s carbon footprint.

9. Use car sharing schemes

90 per cent of London’s air pollution is caused by road traffic. Cut the fumes and create beautiful new friendships by encouraging car sharing to work. Check out www.carbudi.com to find who else out there is travelling your way.

10. Recycle

UK businesses currently send almost 50 per cent – 10m tonnes – to landfill rather than being recycled. But not for much longer. From 30 October 2007, the new Landfill Directive will prohibit all businesses from sending non-hazardous waste to landfill without prior treatment.

Even if you’re not thinking green, spiralling costs and increasingly tight legislation are two very good reasons to get ahead of the game now.

Introduce a rigorous recycling collection scheme. Recycling one tonne of paper is equivalent to providing heat and hot water for a home for a whole year. It also saves 15 trees, 2.5 barrels of oil, 2.26m of landfill space, 31,320 gallons of water and 27 kilograms of air pollutants. 

11. Use the tap

Don’t buy a water cooler. They might make life easy, but you’re committing to a carbon-heavy process of giant plastic bottles, cooling systems and road haulage. What’s wrong with tap water? If you don’t like the taste, invest in a water filter.

12. Think about carbon offsetting…

Fancy yourself as a “zero-carbon company”? Once you’ve slimmed down your heating and travel to the bare minimum, there are lots of companies that will happily “neutralise” your remaining emissions by investing your cash in sustainability initiatives, renewable energy projects and the like.

13 …But be very careful

The carbon offsetting market is largely unregulated and awash with chancers. Perhaps the biggest gripe is that offsetting could be seen as an excuse to simply carry on our bad behaviour.

But even if you’ve genuinely cut back and want to “cancel out” the rest, many offsetting schemes are simply rackets, with large amounts of your money being spent on “administration”. Nevertheless, offsetting can be a positive experience if you choose your company carefully.

Look out for the WWF’s Gold Standard – it’s a best practice benchmark for projects that reduce carbon emissions and foster sustainable development.

14. Encourage cycling

Two wheels are better than four, at least for the planet. Is your workplace set up for cyclists? Bike purchasing schemes, bike racks and shower facilities all encourage staff to use pedal power.

Under the government’s Cycle To Work scheme, employers can loan bicycles to their staff as a tax-free benefit, provided they are mainly used to get to and from work. 

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