How can businesses reduce their carbon footprint?
Wednesday, 30, May 2012 01:54
With governments placing growing emphasis on tackling climate change, it's become more important for businesses to consider the steps they are taking to curb their emissions. There are many ways this can be done, although carefully managing the use of electrical products is one of the most effective.
UK companies, regardless of size or the industry they operate in, are being encouraged to make efforts to reduce energy consumption and in the process lower their carbon footprint. Doing so offers significant environmental and economic benefits, and - while replacing old electrical equipment with new, more eco-friendly models will require some initial outlay - it will pay off in the long-run, most notably in the form of lower utility bills.
However, it would be a mistake to think once your new products have been installed that your efforts in reducing your carbon footprint are complete. You will need to consider how your old appliances will be handled. Although you might be tempted to put them in the general rubbish bin to be sent to landfill, doing so could cause unnecessary damage to the environment. If not disposed of properly, certain items - such as fridges and freezers - can release harmful gases into the atmosphere as a result of the plastics and glues that they contain.
It is worth remembering that not only does failing to recycle impact negatively on your carbon footprint, but also means you are breaking the law. UK businesses are legally obliged to follow the electrical recycling standards set out by the government that demand all firms that use, manufacture or distribute items listed on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive take steps to ensure any products they no longer want are disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
With electronic products thought to be the fastest growing waste stream in the country - increasing by an annual rate of at least five per cent - making sure you dispose of old electrical items responsibly can contribute towards lowering your business's carbon footprint. Although it's possible to manage the process of recycling inefficient equipment entirely by yourself, it is easier - and often cheaper - to tackle your emissions by enlisting the services of a specialist company.
There are a range of rules and standards that must be followed when disposing of WEEE products, so working with a dedicated corporate recycler can ensure that you adhere with all Environment Agency legislation. One area where this can certainly be the case is when electrical waste leaves your premises. You shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that any items you send off are no longer your concern, as you'll need to show evidence that they have been disposed of properly.
Establishing a recycling partner programme, however, means you'll have a tracking service - so you know exactly where your items are being taken to - and, once they've reached their destination, you will be given a waste transfer note that you can show as proof of meeting your obligations.
It's also worth bearing in mind that such businesses are able to come to your premises to collect your goods, which can be a handy option if you've cleared out dozens of power-draining computers after upgrading to modern, more efficient equipment or simply don't have the time to visit a waste disposal centre yourself. Of course, not having to drive to a recycling facility means you'll also save on petrol and prevent less CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
As you can see, the quest to reduce your firm's carbon footprint doesn't start and finish with you buying the latest green products. Rather, it's an ongoing process that requires long-term management.