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Eco-friendly now mainstream for business

Tuesday 30 Jun 2020
Please note the content of this news item is over six months old and may no longer be current.
Recycle packaging

The Southern Business Mentoring Program's Joanna Arhontis is available to help the City of Marion's retail businesses with tailored one-on-one advice. Joanna shares with us how eco-friendly products are no longer an alternative, but the new mainstream.

We go about our everyday doing our thing, busy accepting deliveries, unpacking boxes, serving customers, wrapping, packing, delivering product in bags, boxes, plastic wrap, disposable cups, takeaway packs without too much thought. What is there to think about? Until one day we are stopped by our children, grandchildren or read an article, see a documentary about the impact humans and business have on the environment, global warming or sustainability. We look at what we are doing, we admit to ourselves we are not helping and that we may be part of the problem. We may justify our reality, “but the problem is much bigger than me running my business and my daily actions, I am a tiny pea in the pod, what can I do to make a difference?”

We would all agree though, that it is important to reduce the impact on the environment for our future generations. And let me tell you if we all do just our little bit, together we will achieve great things.

Do your bit! There are some simple and cost-effective ways to reduce the impact your business has on the environment

  1. Plastic Bags - when sourcing and buying consumer bags for the end user, biodegradable bags or eliminating the use of plastic bags in your business is the way to go. Using an eco- friendly alternative is an organic fabric for reusable bags. These bags can be made from hemp, organic or recycled cotton, tapioca, palm leaves just to name a few options and even if thrown away they biodegrade in approximately 100 days. But be creative there is some real marketing and branding merit to BRAND your business on a bag to build your customer loyalty and brand awareness.
  2. Takeaway cups, food boxes and plastic cutlery are items always seen in mountainous numbers in landfill. An alternative option is using an eco-friendly, recyclable and commercially compostable products. These will reduce greenhouse gases and as I didn’t realise until told, returns nutrients back to the earth, improves soil quality and most times costs less than sending waste to landfill. There are many cost effective options from corn (corn-starch packaging) to mushroom (matrix of mushroom roots) to seaweed. You just have to ask or take a look around for yourself - there are so many options that look great too, like bamboo plates and cutlery. The customers love it! Again, eco-friendly becomes part of your brand.
  3. Paper and Cardboard luckily are mostly made of recyclable materials and this can be easily sourced from wrapping to boxes. What is important is that you and your staff are using the right options of council or shopping centre bins when breaking down your boxes from your product deliveries. It all starts from the top and is a culture in the workplace we as business owners have to create.

In this ever fast changing world we live in our customers are more socially and environmentally aware. With so many eco-friendly alternatives on the market at competitive prices, more businesses are recognising the opportunity in making the switch. Eco-friendly is becoming the mainstream, and smart business owners are recognising it can be a part of their branding. Understanding that consumers who also choose to support businesses who are trying to do their part to help our society, become more sustainable.

Do your bit! Make it a part of your brand.