“Only One Earth” has been the slogan for World Environment Day for almost half a century. Since 1975, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has used this day to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage action to protect the planet.
The 2022 celebrations for World Environment Day will be hosted in Sweden. Taking place every year on 5 June, this is a chance for the international community to work together towards a more sustainable future. The environment is a pivotal part of a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and South Africa has a responsibility toward achieving these goals.
Now, more than ever, the Earth is facing an environmental emergency and it is up to individuals, businesses and governments to do something to protect the environment and reduce the impact of pollution. At IWESCO, we would like to encourage our fellow South Africans to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day by making the following changes - even if it’s just for the day.
Making South African businesses eco-friendly
While lockdowns provided a much-needed reprieve from air and road travel, things are now starting to go back to the way they were before. If businesses continue to encourage remote working, especially teleconferencing with international clients, then we can continue to reduce carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels. This not only reduces air pollution but also the negative environmental impact caused by the extraction of non-renewable resources.
Where possible, offices should change to LED light bulbs to save energy. Switching off devices when they aren’t needed will also help businesses to reduce their electricity bills. Consider adding sensors to lights so that they automatically switch off when there is nobody in the room. Limit the use of air-conditioning and heating by encouraging staff to drink lots of water in summer and dress warmly in cooler months.
Alongside responsible consumption comes the need for sustainable waste disposal. Businesses can contribute to more sustainable practices by adopting green policies related to waste management. As a provider of waste control services to South African businesses, IWESCO maintains a sustainable approach to waste disposal and clean up.
Honouring World Environment Day
In honour of World Environment Day, businesses could give employees branded water bottles or reusable coffee cups to replace single-use plastics in the workplace. Another idea would be to have a green challenge where employees go a month without using any disposable items.
Eco-friendly initiatives can also be used as part of team-building activities. For example, businesses can arrange river, beach or park clean-ups followed by a picnic or braai. Teams can arrange clothes or toy swaps so that they can upcycle items they no longer need. Meal sharing initiatives can help to build relationships among employees and also reduce the need for takeaway lunches with excessive packaging.
Going paperless can be a real challenge for some offices so if it is absolutely necessary to print, make sure you are using recycled paper and printing double-sided. Ensure that scrap paper is set aside so that it can be reused. These days, there are many paperless alternatives.
Write-and-erase notebooks are becoming more widely available and personal devices, such as laptops and tablets, are reducing the need for paper-based note-taking. Setting up a paper policy in the office is a great way to honour this year’s World Environment Day. Brainstorm with teams about how to improve eco-friendliness at work. By including employees in green initiatives they will feel more invested and more likely to participate.
Dealing with waste responsibly
According to the UNEP, we produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with the rate of plastic production exceeding that of any other material. Plastics do not disintegrate. In order words, they never fully disappear. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they become microplastics. These tiny particles then enter our water, and soil, making their way into the food we eat.
It is important to deal with waste responsibly. Making recycling effortless and convenient will encourage employees to separate their trash into the right bins. Organic waste should not end up in landfills because it cannot break down there. It should rather be collected in a separate bin and then used for compost. If businesses do not have composting facilities, then speak to your waste management provider to ensure that food scraps and leftovers are properly disposed of.
Choose an environmentally-friendly cleaning service
IWESCO provides professional cleaning services to South African businesses. We are internationally accredited with an ISO 14001 certificate. Sustainable cleaning and waste control help to reduce the impact on the environment. Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products means that our products are not harmful to animals or humans and are still effective against germs and dirt.
IWESCO offers specialised cleaning and waste control services to industrial and commercial customers in South Africa. These services are aimed at minimising our customers’ impact on the environment. Our services also include pest control, garden maintenance, fogging and disinfecting. Our staff are highly trained to offer the most professional services. IWESCO is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.
We are a one-stop shop for all your contract cleaning and waste control needs and have a national footprint. Our head office is located in Tshwane but we can provide services to any industrial and commercial client in the major metropolitan areas around South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mbombela and more.