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This was a very hot topic in 2019, and it will receive even more impetus in 2020. It is all about the little things we can do in our everyday lives to consume less and to respond to the global climate issues. Here are our 20 eco tips… to get 2020 off to a good ‘green’ start.
1. An easy habit to get into: a mug or a water bottle. If you are a coffee addict, just think about the number of plastic cups you are going through every month. Bring along your favourite mug and just wash it at the end of the day. The same goes for water. A little extra: you could organise a ‘funniest mug’ competition to motivate your staff/colleagues.
2. We are sure you are already doing this, but it is always good to remind people: reduce your paper printouts. Before printing a document, ask yourself if you could send it by e-mail instead. One out of two documents ends up in the wastepaper basket. Opt for electronic invoicing.
3. Digital pollution is invisible, but it is nevertheless a nuisance which you have the power to reduce. Regularly empty your mailbox (30 e-mails use as much energy as a lightbulb left on for 24 hours), and try not to send excessively large attachments (the larger the e-mail, the more it pollutes). You could instead use data transfer solutions, such as WeTransfer or a shared server.
4. Enlist the help of your Human Resources department with this environmental journey, and ask them to invest in waste sorting bins, to organise information sessions, to offer vegan/vegetarian alternatives in the canteen, and so on.
5. Google is your trusted friend. But have you heard of Ecosia, the environmentally-friendly search engine that is planting one tree for every 45 searches carried out. To date, they have planted almost 81,000,000 trees. Not bad, eh?
6. Opt for 1 or 2 days of homeworking per week. If possible, try to organise video conferences with your visitors. That will avoid many wasted car journeys.
7. And finally, at the end of the day, remember to switch off your computer – instead of leaving it on standby – and the lights, if there is no automatic standby system..
On the road
8. As an employer, you can offer your staff a means of transport. Suggest an electric car, or better still, an electric bicycle or scooter. Little extra: Customise them with your company’s logos. Free advertising!
9. Invite your staff to take part in car pooling. You could even create a tool on your intranet to offer places to colleagues who do the same commute.
10. Do you make several journeys a month to attend conferences or to meet clients? Opt for the train rather than taking a flight. A Brussels-Paris train journey may take slightly longer (1.30 hrs compared to 55 minutes) but your carbon dioxide emissions will be 2.6kg (instead of 32kg by aeroplane and 40kg by car).
A la maison
11. Recycle your old equipment: your old smartphones of course, but also your other household appliances. You can find Repair Cafés dotted around Belgium and the volunteers will happily offer to repair your broken appliances. Also give some thought to buying second-hand. And if there is really nothing more you can do, head for the collection point. :-)
12. As soon as you leave a room, switch off the light. And if you are away for longer periods of time, get into the habit of switching off your appliances. The standby mode uses more power than you would think.
13. Second-hand clothes are also becoming increasingly popular. If you want to update your wardrobe, or would like to dispose of clothes you no longer wear, or simply to declutter, give some thought to the vast number of second-hand shops and websites. You would be surprised what bargains there are to be had.
14. Do you love reading? If so, you could find out if there is a library close to your work or home? In addition to being more environmentally-friendly, it will also work out cheaper for you compared to buying new.
15. Rethink your eating habits. Flexitarianism has become a growing trend since last year. You could also suggest to your family to go vegetarian one day a week?
16. And talking about food, also try to remember to use fabric bags when you go shopping and to take along containers if you are buying loose, unpackaged items. In some shops you can also refuse the till receipt and receive it by e-mail instead, for example.
17. It is winter and you really do not like the cold? Then put on a warm jumper and reduce your heating by 1 or 2 degrees. And what could be nicer than to get all cosy under a throw?
18. And last but not least, stick a ‘No junk mail’ sticker on your letterbox. This will avoid you receiving advertising, and any unwanted leaflets… and you will not have to put out your recycling bin quite as often. Please note that you will not be receiving any more advertising from Orange to tell you about our latest offers… You have been informed :-)
19. Too Good Too Go : According to this website, in Belgium we throw away 3.5 millions of tons worth of food every year. To reduce this waste and to support a more ethical way of buying, they sell unsold food items from local shops. You can simply book your parcel on the app and collect it at the agreed time.
20. Another one we wish to introduce you to, and that is the Vinted app that enables you to buy and sell second-hand clothing. A better way to buy… even for shopaholics!