Canterbury 4 Business

Green routines for micro businesses

If you run a small business, youre probably the one who opens up the office, brings the milk in, switches off the security system, opens the post, checks the emails and faxes, empties the waste bins .and so on. And at the end of the day, youre probably the last one out, having activated the security system, turned out the lights, locked up, etc.

With so much to do everyday (as well as run your business!), greening the office is unlikely to top your agenda. But, as the owner and staff of Coffee-Lux (a virtual micro business based in the South East) discovered, there are ways of growing greener simply by growing smarter

Be water-wise

Simple measures could help cut your water bill by approximately 50%:

  • Contact Southern Water who will visit your business and advise you how to minimise usage
  • Don't leave taps dripping make sure they are fully turned off or repair them if necessary (one dripping tap can waste 8,000 litres pa on average)*
  • Equip the loo cistern(s) with a water-saving device (Hippo, Hog Bag or Save-a-flush). Save-a-flush available from Southern Water, usually free for local businesses contact 01903 272483 for details.
  • Use a bowl with hot water and detergent to wash up in, not the sink. Wash cleaner items first.
  • Use tap water, rather than bottled water.

*Southern Water

For advice on health & safety issues, contact or

Cut back on paper waste

Around 8.6 million tonnes of printing and writing paper enter the waste stream daily each year in the UK.* Paper and card account for 20 per cent of commercial waste** and 70 per cent of the waste in an average office waste bin is made up of paper (computer printout 29 per cent; mixed paper 23 per cent; corrugated containers 8 per cent; and newspapers 10 per cent).***

You can help reduce office paper consumption by:

  • Edit standard letters to fit onto one page
  • Place a 'Do you really need to print this?' sign next to printers and copiers
  • Place a paper recycling bin by the photocopier
  • Print on both sides of the paper (except for letters to clients)
  • Try to buy 100% recycled paper, envelopes and packaging
  • Send invoices and statements electronically via PDF instead of paper
* Defra, Industrial and commercial waste by business sector and waste type (2002)** Environment Agency Survey 2002/3*** Friends of the Earth Scotland

Gear up to green techniques (ignore Mr Clarkson)

If youre stuck in traffic for any length of time, switch off your engine. You can also become a better driver and reduce fuel consumption by:

  • Driving smoothly, not accelerating or braking too sharply
  • Changing gear at the right time - 2,000rpm for a diesel engine and 2,500rpm for a petrol engine as this can help cut up to 10% of fuel costs
  • Filling up when passing a filling station rather than making a special journey
  • Checking the route before driving somewhere you havent visited before
  • Keeping tyres inflated at recommended pressures: soft tyres increase fuel consumption
  • A course in advanced driving practice (see and can help you learn how to reduce fuel consumption by at least 25%.

Next month... How to stay cool and cut energy consumption.

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