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Opinion: 5 Tips to make NFPs environmentally sustainable

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According to the Sustainable Development Report 2016, globally, Australia ranked 20th in meeting the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDH) in the SDG Index and Dashboard. With some of the world’s highest carbon emissions per person and lowest clean energy scores, its high time Australian businesses set an example and adopt eco-friendly strategies, which will help us all act more sustainably.

So here is a guide on how Australian non-profit organisations (NPO) can create greener solutions, thereby reducing their carbon footprint and also saving a considerable amount of money in the long run.

1. Switch to Eco-Friendly Office Products

Did you know that by recycling, Australian landfills are saved over 1.5 million tonnes of paper every year? By switching your daily office consumables for eco-friendly alternatives, your NFP can join the war on waste as well.

Buying recycled products is a sustainably better solution that will ensure recycled products that are being manufactured are put to good use. Common, environmentally friendly office supplies include copy paper and stationary, catering and cafeteria product like cups, straws, plates, bowls, cutlery, serviettes, and napkins, washroom products like toilet paper, facial tissues and hand towels, and garbage bins and liners.

2. Adopt Green Cleaning Products

As a great alternative to commercial cleaners that might contain harsh chemicals, environmentally friendly cleaning products are safe and do not release toxic compounds into the air, which can harm the environment and us.

Being an NFP, you most likely don’t have big budgets, but the good news is there are a plethora of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions on the market that cost the same or even less than standard cleaning agents. Plus, they do not equate to more work and can be employed for heavy-duty cleaning too. From multi-purpose cleaners and disinfectants to cleaning cloths and detergents, there is an array of products that deliver sustainably safe and fantastic results.

3. Utilise Energy Efficient Lighting

Were you aware that your office lighting could actually constitute over 50% of your total energy use? Inefficient technology and equipment are some of the main contributors to high electricity costs.

Switching to more sustainably energy-efficient lighting solutions can help your NPO save up to a staggering 80% of your lighting and electricity bills. So in addition to being socially responsible, your organisation will also be able to allocate those savings towards deserving causes.

4. Adopt a “When Not in Use, Switch off” Policy

Sustainable energy experts Conservergy, have over 30 years of experience in helping companies and brands reduce their carbon footprint. They suggest switching off lights and electronics that are not being used because it saves so much power and as a consequence, money as well.

Microwaves, for example, take up a lot of electricity. So if your office has a microwave or two in its cafeteria, ensure they are switched off between uses. By doing the same with other appliances and gadgets, including computers, printers, and air conditioners, and by following better lighting practices, your NFP will realise considerable savings in the future.

5. Spruce un Your Office With Plants

According to research conducted by NASA, plants eliminate about 87% of toxins from the air every 24 hours. But besides purifying the air, they also act as humidifiers, releasing 97% of the water they utilise.

So, in addition to enhancing the aesthetic of your office, plants will also promote better health and sustainably increase productivity as well.

By employing greener solutions, your NFP will not only join in the fight to save our planet but could potentially save thousands of dollars every year.

About the Contributor:
Luci Aldrin is a part time freelance writer and full-time mother to an energetic toddler. She writes for a wide range of publications on topics such as corporate social responsibility and environmental issues.

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