How To Make Your African Business Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly is not only good for the planet – it can also save your business big money. Follow these ten easy steps by our expert to join the green revolution.

10. Be bright about light

You’ll be amazed by how many buildings leave their lights on all night, wasting an incredible amount of electricity. Make a habit of turning lights off when you leave a room, and only fit Energy Star-Rated light bulbs and fixtures – say ‘bye-bye’ to incandescent bulbs!

9. Be the drivers of change

When driving, use your handbrake to stop on an incline; relying on clutch control is a waste of fuel. Carpooling is another great way of cutting your fuel costs drastically, and of course cycling to work is best of all!

8. Don’t go, use video!

The transport sector accounts for a massive 13 percent of South Africa’s carbon emissions. Play your part in lowering emissions by using video-conferencing and conference calls as an alternative to local and international travel.

7. Turn off electrical equipment

Many appliances, like computer screens and televisions, can be left in ‘standby’ mode and seem to be off, but are still drawing electricity. It is always best to turn appliances off completely, and don’t leave computers ‘sleeping’ overnight.

6. Print on both sides

By simply printing on both sides of the paper, a company can cut down its paper use by up to 50 percent. Go one step further by using paper with a high quantity of recycled content, or try not to print at all.

5. Choose suppliers who recycle

Empty printer cartridges, old computers and many other office appliances can be recycled or refurbished. So make it company policy to purchase office supplies and equipment from companies who take back and recycle products at the end of their life spans.

4. Cleaning should not cost the earth

Make sure your office is cleaned using green products that are not full of toxic chemicals which damage precious ecosystems.

3. Install a solar geyser

South Africa has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world. Take advantage of them – and slash your monthly electricity bills – by installing a solar-powered geyser system. Also make sure your geysers are all well-insulated to better retain their heat.

2. Set a goal and stick to it

Give your office the challenge of reducing its electricity bill by 10 percent a month and come up with incentives for achieving the target each month. It will give co-workers a way to take ownership of the issue and create some good camaraderie, too.

1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Recycling is definitely one of the easiest and most immediate ways a business can become a little greener. South Africa creates almost 67 million cubic meters of waste a year. Luckily between 50 and 80 percent is fully recyclable and many municipalities already have recycling programmes in place.

A good recycling programme starts with a little education: a short note to people on why recycling is important for the planet and what it involves.

Old habits are not easy to change, so the simpler your office recycling project is, the more likely it is to succeed. It is best to start out small, perhaps focusing on paper recycling initially, expanding the programme with time.

In the long-run, aim to create a recycling station in your office, with different bins for paper, plastics, organic waste, glass and tins. It also helps to have a number of paper-only bins littered around the building. Be sure to provide regular updates on how the project is running; they will keep people motivated and interested in how the programme is progressing.


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