Spotlighting water quality improvement, conservation in August
The North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce (NFGCC) is recognizing August as National Water Quality Month.
To focus on a natural resource, we usually take for granted, the North Florida Green Chamber has announced its inaugural Water Quality Award to be presented at the end of August.
“We often fail to recognize how regular human activities impact our water quality. Water Quality Month reminds us how our actions affect our waterways and sources. The award will focus on how we are doing locally. Water Quality Month reminds us to take a long, hard look at what businesses and our community are doing to protect sources of fresh water,” noted NFGCC Executive Director Christina W. Kelcourse, Esq, CFP, CRPC.
The Water Quality Award will recognize examples of water quality improvement and conservation that best demonstrates significant, lasting, and measurable excellence in water quality improvement or in prevention of water quality degradation by Green Chamber members and other businesses in North Florida.
NFGCC is a regional networking organization for all sizes of businesses and community organizations including non-profits that emphasize green and sustainable business practices. The award is being created in cooperation with the St. Johns Riverkeepers.
What are you doing to protect and conserve your sources of freshwater? Let the Green Chamber know so they can acknowledge you during National Water Quality Month or nominate someone.
Nominate someone today at www.northfloridagreenchamber.org/sustainability/
DEADLINE IS AUG. 10
Plastic Free July can be an effective way to start your sustainable journey. Follow these four steps.
By Emily Folk
If you want to operate a more eco-friendly business, it’s time to consider a few different approaches. You can help your company make smart choices for your consumers, employees and planet. Plastic Free July can be an effective way to start your sustainable journey. It really is easier than you think to create a green business.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people address plastic pollution, so we can have cleaner streets, healthier water sources and better ecosystems. Single-use plastics are everywhere—in our fridges, in our mail packaging, on the store shelves and at the local café.
Luckily, solutions to reduce single-use plastics can be implemented at home, work, restaurants and all big and small communities. Here are ways to take action for Plastic Free July.
- Educate All Employees
It’s important to bring your employees on this sustainable journey. You should take steps as a business to make eco-friendly choices, but it’s also up to your staff to make a difference. You can also try to urge your customers to be make “greener” habits. Send out emails with fast facts on climate change, as well as what you’ve done to become a sustainable business. The more people know, the more they will act.
Work with everyone to set weekly or monthly goals as a company. When it comes to waste, Americans produce 267 million tons every day. How can your employees make a change at the office? You could create a dedicated group to talk about green office initiatives. Feel free to hang up posters and signs to remind people about recycling and other practices you want to implement.
- Choose Sustainable Packaging
Whether you operate a local boutique or a restaurant chain, it is essential to consider your packaging. These days, many businesses use plastic materials to box their products. This practice creates immense waste—and those items often make their way to our oceans. It is true that when you recycle, you can reduce carbon emissions and save immense energy. In fact, you could power a room for 14 days if you recycled 100 cans.
That said, we cannot always count on consumers to throw away their trash correctly. That is why it is important to use sustainable packaging from the start. If you conduct an audit, you will see how much plastic you use as a business. Then, you can explore greener options that work for your product.
- Make a Green Office
It is essential to ensure you and your employees have a green office space. The same goes for restaurant and retail businesses. Here are a few ways to make your company space more eco-friendly:
Only print important documents
Use green cleaning supplies
Switch light bulbs to energy-efficient ones
Ask customers if they want their receipts
Offer reusable cutlery, plates and cups
Donate or recycle old computer equipment
Adjust the office’s temperature when unoccupied
These small efforts can produce a significant difference in your business. They are simple ways to transition to a more eco-friendly office—especially throughout Plastic Free July. Make an effort to tackle at least three or more goals on this list by next month. As a result, you will be able to create an impact without too much effort. Once you start, it becomes even easier.
- Try Reusable Products
If you own a restaurant, it is essential to use as many reusable products as you can. Otherwise, you’ll likely contribute to the extensive plastic pollution that plagues our oceans—up to 12.7 million metric tons accumulate every year. As a business, you have a chance to make conscious decisions that impact the entire world. It may not seem like this step matters, but it is much more important than you might think.
You can celebrate Plastic Free July when you replace your current containers, cutlery and other plastic single-use products with sustainable alternatives. You can even replace single-use sauce and condiment bottles with refillable versions. Make this effort your mission as a restaurant.
Use These Tips to Lead a More Sustainable Business
These tips may take some time to implement completely, but it is worth it! Use this Plastic Free July to jumpstart a sustainable initiative at your business.
You can also follow the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly on social platforms, or follow PlasticFreeJuly’s social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) to reduce your single-use plastic reliance this month and all year long.
(Emily Folk covers topics in sustainability, conservation and green technology. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks)