Sustainability for small businesses: 3 little changes that make a big difference
Earlier this year, it was revealed that 8 out of 10 small businesses want to work towards having more sustainable, eco-friendly operations.
Being a sustainable business is a journey, and we’re always looking at ways we can improve our effect on the world around us. In meetings, at the coffee machine and on our team WhatsApp group, it’s something the Sustainable Kitchens team talks about daily. With this in mind, here are 3 questions we asked ourselves to make sure we’re operating sustainably.
Can our company’s waste be reused?
In a workshop like ours, offcuts of wood are a simple fact of life; but that doesn’t mean they should contribute to waste.
When we heard about local charity Children’s Scrapstore, we realised our old offcuts could have a new lease of life as children’s toys or arts and crafts materials! We’ve also started to compress our sawdust into pellets to be used as firewood, and Mike from Sterling (proud producers of many of the sinks and taps that end up in our designs) even turns excess wood into homes for bugs and ladybirds. Bless their little spots. Read more about that little venture here.
Have we got an effective MRC (mini recycling centre)?
Here’s a mind-boggling fact: last year, Bristol recycled 4,059 tonnes of plastic. That’s the equivalent of the SS Great Britain with a full load of cargo. As a city, we also recycled 15,303 tonnes of paper and cardboard, or the same weight as ten Clifton Suspension Bridges. Ten. Both figures come from the team at Bristol Waste, who have lots of tips on how (and what) to recycle.
When we met Bristol Waste at Easy to be Green, a showcase for sustainability in Bristol, they told us that around half of waste put into wheelie bins could be recycled. When you take into consideration that it requires 95% less energy to make a can from recycled aluminium (as opposed to making it new), it seems like a bit of a no-brainer, right?
Do we partner with and support other sustainably-minded businesses?
One of our favourite things about being a Bristol-based business is that we’re smack-bang in the centre of one of the UK’s biggest hubs for sustainability. We’re a stone’s throw from Bristol Marble and Granite, who share our passion for eco-friendly home design and supply the worktops for many of our kitchens (have a little browse here).
It’s not just about our major suppliers, though. Sometimes, little details make a big difference. When our MD Nicky heard about Who Gives A Crap? toilet paper, we ordered our first box. They’re forest friendly – 100% made from recycled paper! – and half their profits go towards building toilets for those in need around the world. That gets a big tick from the SK team.
There’s always something new to learn when it comes to being a sustainable business. Here are some of our favourite green business resources. Happy reading!