According to a 2018 WWF study, during the summer, plastic waste increases by 40% due to tourism, the majority of which ends up in the oceans. Even though it is important to recognise our individual responsibility, re-evaluate our routines and build new, more eco-sensitive habits, it’s also essential to bring change on the business level too. We have compiled a list of things, and sustainability tips, your business can do in order to counter the toll summertime takes on the environment.
1. Opt for fans, not a/c
Both in the UK and the Netherlands, summers are relatively mild —apart from the occasional heatwave, which is the exception to the rule (for now!). Consider using fans at the office rather than air conditioning.
2. Embrace Natural Light
This is the time of the year we can make the most of daylight until well into —and get some vitamin D. See if you can make any changes in your offices or working area, so that you can turn off the lights and make the most of natural light.
3. Promote sustainable products
If you’re in the hospitality business, this is your time to shine. You can seasonally promote sustainable (and local) products from toiletries to sunscreen. When it comes to sunscreen specifically, don’t think that sustainable packaging ticks the sustainability box. Sunscreens contain Oxybenzone, which poses risks to coral reefs as corals and sea anemones turn it into a deadly toxin. See if you can find and recommend more sustainable options for your guests or provide samples.
In order to give employees a nudge you can allow volunteer days specifically for eco-initiatives. Of course, this is a policy that can be implemented all year round, but in the summertime, it’s especially important for tourist areas that need volunteers for cleaning up litter etc.
Another option is to organise a volunteering action as a company, which will also help with team bonding. Plant trees, clean litter, anything counts. It’s a good thing to organise all year round too!
5. Water usage
Reducing water usage on the individual and business levels is essential —even more so in the summertime. In the UK this year, in view of heatwaves and sunny weather, the public was encouraged to make every drop count this summer. So make sure to check for leaks and consider installing water-efficient technologies, (such as timers, moisture sensors, and water heater insulation) to ensure you’re not wasting water. These are investments that will last and will potentially reduce your bills as well. An additional consideration is recycling with greywater systems, for boilers, cooling units etc.
And while we’re at it, consider gifting your employees with reusable water bottles to help them stay hydrated without using plastic bottles!
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