The environment is a hot topic right now.

With plastic waste in the news almost every day of the week, new laws on diesel cars and the eye-opening Blue Planet II breaking records around the world, entrepreneurs have never been more conscious about their impact on the environment.

At Muffin Marketing, we take global warming seriously.

We recently switched to a green server that runs off of 100% renewable power, and we’re always looking at ways to further reduce our carbon footprint and become a carbon neutral business.

Today, we’re going to share some of the ways that you can make your digital business more environmentally-friendly and do your bit to protect the future of our planet.


Choose eco-friendly web hosting

According to The Guardian, the internet produces 300 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, and a big part of that is from data centres and servers.

Every website on the internet is hosted on a server, and whether you’re on a low-cost shared web hosting plan or you’ve got a dedicated server for your business, there’s more that you can do to reduce your environmental impact.

There are so many environmental implications of data centres and servers; simply put, they’re not very green places.

Not only do they require a lot of power to run and maintain, but they required huge batteries to kick in during power outages, coolants to prevent the machinery from overheating, and toxic cleaning equipment to reduce static discharge. All pretty harmful stuff.

The good news is that you can make greener choices when choosing a web hosting provider.

Some providers now offer “green web hosting solutions”, carrying out eco-friendly initiatives to reduce or mitigate their impact on the environment.

This involves powering the servers through renewable energy and using carbon offsetting.

And when you switch to an environmentally friendly web host, you can shout about it on your website and use it as a selling point – especially if you’re a sustainable, eco-conscious brand.


Cut down on packaging waste

Ecommerce businesses face many challenges when trying to compete with giants like Amazon, and one of the biggest is delivery.

Today’s consumers demand fast delivery and free returns, and if you can’t offer that, then your customers will look elsewhere to find someone who can.

One of the most common complaints about Amazon’s packaging is waste. Customers are often sent small items in oversized boxes with far too much packaging, leading to unnecessary waste.

One way that you can make your business more environmentally-friendly is to reduce your packaging waste.

Finding the most appropriate packaging for each of your items is key.

First, make sure you look for recycled papers, cardboard and other materials for use in packaging.

Being green can be more expensive, but the results will speak for themselves.

You should also look for eco-friendly filling materials, swapping hazardous styrofoam for things such as corrugated cardboard inserts and shredded paper to protect products from damage.

Finding low-emission transport companies to deliver your goods is also a sensible move; if you can’t find one for your country, then consider offsetting your carbon footprint as an alternative.


Work from home

If you don’t have to spend half an hour stuck in traffic on your journey to work, then don’t.

Running a digital business gives you the flexibility of working anywhere in the world, so make use out of cloud-based solutions for documents, accounting, managing and emailing to reduce the need for a physical office.

Not only will this save money, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint.

According to one study, buildings account for an incredible 39% of carbon dioxide emissions, what with lighting, air conditioning and running servers and computers.

Working from home can help your reduce these emissions and create a more environmentally-friendly business.


Recycle old electronics

Splashing out on the latest iPhone and MacBook once a year is good fun; it allows you to have the latest technology and keep up appearances.

But this “throwaway” attitude towards technology means that perfectly good machines are being destroyed unnecessarily.

Instead of throwing away old phones, laptops and printers, consider donating them to charity or recycling them using a website that allows you to cash in old gadgets for money.


Make your own coffee

We don’t need to give you a lecture: the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups is bad.

Most coffee cups can’t be recycled because they have a plastic lining inside of them to make the cups waterproof.

It’s possible to separate the plastic from the cardboard, but it’s complicated and requires too much manpower and hard work to be worthwhile, so they’re often sent straight to landfill.

Make your own coffee instead

In fact, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are sent to landfill every year.

So instead of heading out to Costa or Starbucks for your morning brew, consider making a coffee from the comfort of your own home.

Thanks to machines like the Tassimo and Nespresso you can still enjoy a delicious cappuccino without having to take out a course in latte art, so make the switch as soon as you can.

Not only will you save money by doing so (the average coffee from a machine costs 45p, compared to £3.00 in your local coffee shop), but you’ll be cutting down on the unnecessary landfill waste associated with disposable plastic coffee cups.


Support other eco-friendly businesses

The chances are that you’re not the only eco-friendly business within your neighbourhood or your niche, so work together and support other businesses that follow your same ethos and values.

Whether you host an event to raise money for green causes, or you simply create a page on your website and list other sustainable businesses, there are lots of ways to support one another.

And doing so can offer more benefits than just good PR.

You could find more environmentally suppliers, for example, or network with like-minded businesses who are interested in your products or services.

Spread the word about your greenery, and others will naturally follow suit.


Wrapping up

With so many other things to worry about when launching your own business, the environment may not be at the top of your list.

However, making greener choices and caring about the impact of your business will help you to protect the environment and attract an affluent audience, too.

If you’ve recently improved the efficiency of your website and want to spread the word, then don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out about our content marketing for small businesses.

A simple blog post revealing the work you’re doing to save the planet could go a long way!