Sustainability has become one of the latest buzzwords in the business world. However, going green is not simply a temporary trend.
Embracing sustainability in the context of today’s ever-changing world is a win-win situation for businesses — it’s not just good for the environment, but also for the business’ brand image.
Going green is especially important in the context of Singapore. Climate change is an existential threat of our times and as a low-lying state, Singapore is particularly vulnerable.
In a speech by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, climate change poses an “asymmetrical challenge” for a small island like Singapore.
“While Singapore contributes around 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the totality of global emissions, 100 per cent, including the other 99.9 per cent, affects us too – and often more seriously than it affects larger, better endowed countries,” he said.
That is why the Singapore government has put together a 10-year plan called the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
The Green Plan is a nationwide sustainable development agenda with firm action plans, touching on almost every dimension of Singaporeans’ lives. For example, a million more trees are slated to be planted across the island.
There are also plans for Singapore to be a leading centre for Green Finance in Asia and globally. This will be done by building up the financial sector’s resilience to environmental risks, developing green financial solutions, building knowledge and capabilities, and leveraging innovation and technology.
The Green Plan charts ambitious and concrete targets over the next 10 years, strengthening Singapore’s commitments under the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement.
As much as Singaporean individuals have to play a part in “greening” the country, local businesses also have an important role in this ambition.
In fact, environmentally-friendly actions can start small, and can be as easy as switching to a more sustainable printer. Here are some simple steps businesses can undertake to become sustainable.
Encourage employees to recycle
Workplaces are full of recyclable materials that do not make it to recycling bins. While there may already be recycling bins placed around the workplace, business leaders cannot guarantee that the bins are used correctly, or used at all.
Motivating and educating employees on correctly disposing their waste in the workplace is important in order to reduce the amount of commercial waste being sent to the incinerator.
Some people might not understand the significance of recycling, and it is the responsibility of business owners to help them understand just how important it is.
Business leaders can consider holding meetings or sending out newsletters to staff about the matter, along with information on what materials are recyclable. Putting up signs around the workplace to remind employees to recycle can be helpful as well.
Another tactic can be to simply remove individual bins. While individual bins provide convenience for staff, it can also discourage employees from getting up to throw recyclable materials into the right bin.
Thus, business leaders can consider setting up a recycling point with bins for various materials while removing individual bins.
Invest in sustainable printing
The importance of eco-friendly printers is evident when we understand the amount of waste we produce from printing.
According to statistics from the National Environment Agency (NEA), about one million ton of paper waste was generated in 2019, with only 44 percent of it being recycled. It is also the top conventional waste in Singapore, coming in above plastic and food waste.
Although paper has a considerable impact on the environment when it’s not recycled, another cause of concern is what happens to the used ink cartridges and laser toner. Most cartridges and toner are filled with a myriad of chemicals which can be a cause of pollution when not disposed properly.
These problems can be mitigated via the use of eco-friendly printers, especially in the workplace where the volume of printing typically surpasses that of at home.
Epson, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of printers, has an EcoTank INKJET product line. It is an eco-friendly, heat-free inkjet printer that prints in both colour and monochrome.
According to Epson, its EcoTank printers use up to 85 percent less power consumption and generate up to 85 per cent less carbon dioxide*. It is powered by Heat-Free Technology, which allows the printer to start printing immediately without the need to wait for it to warm up when switched on.
With no heat used in the ink ejection process, Epson’s Heat-Free Technology reduces power consumption in printing, saving significant energy compared to laser printers. Therefore, users get a faster printout while consuming less power at the same time.
In the long run, this translates to lower power consumption in the workplace, which is beneficial for both the environment and business costs.
Furthermore, the EcoTank INKJET printer has up to 59 per cent less^ replacement parts when compared to laser printers.
It also makes use of refillable ink bottles instead of ink cartridges, which highly reduces the amount of waste generated and its impact on the environment. EcoTank printers’ ink bottles can yield up to 7,500 pages for black and 6,000 pages for colour, which is equivalent to 28 cartridge ink sets and five toner sets#.
This is coupled with a lower cost per page of as low as S$0.003 for black and white printing, and S$0.01 for colour printing. Printing can also happen at any time and anywhere with Epson Connect Solutions.
Therefore, switching to a heat-free inkjet solution is an easy, fuss-free way for businesses and SMEs to bring greater sustainability into the workplace.
Furthermore, it also boosts efficiency and the quality of work produced. For business owners who require a complete peace of mind, Epson provides two to four years of warranty for its EcoTank models.
Boost energy efficiency
Businesses are big energy consumers and reviewing their energy practices is not just good for the environment, but for their bottomline as well.
If a business has a huge headcount, it can save costs — and the Earth — by adopting some simple energy-efficiency strategies.
Firstly, many have the habit of leaving desktops on standby and the lights on after leaving the office, which can be a huge financial drain for businesses. Enforcing the practice of powering down electronics is a simple, yet often overlooked way for businesses to save power and cut down on electricity bills.
Secondly, the hot weather in Singapore might tempt us to crank up the air-conditioning. However, it is recommended by the NEA that the temperature should be kept at around 25 degrees celsius.
NEA also said that users can save up to S$25 a year for every degree they raise. The savings are probably exemplified in the case of workplaces with multiple air-conditioners.
Thirdly, light bulbs are an unobstructive, but essential aspect of every office, and likely accounts for a significant percentage of the electricity bill.
As such, now’s the time to make the change to LED light bulbs if your business has not done so already. These types of light bulbs last longer and consume lesser energy than conventional ones.
Lastly, encouraging a hybrid model of work can be a strategy to lower energy consumption, while keeping your staff safe as well. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has advised that working-from-home should become the default arrangement to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
This is also a win-win situation for the business in terms of energy savings. With fewer employees in the office, businesses can save on electricity and water costs, and employees too can save time on their commute to work.
Small actions can make a big difference
We are already starting to see the impacts of climate change, from global warming to erratic weather.
The Singapore government has implemented a blueprint — the Singapore Green Plan 2030 — which highlights how the nation as a whole can tackle these issues. Hence, it becomes more important than ever for individuals and businesses alike to step up and play a part in combating climate change.
Even small, mundane actions such as reminding staff to turn off the lights before leaving the office has an impact on the environment.
To build an eco-friendly workplace, it is also important to have the right equipment. Epson’s EcoTank printers are a great way to begin greening the workspace as it provides workers with an easy and efficient way to minimise waste.
Furthermore, a seemingly small feature such as Heat-Free inkjet printing Technology is able to make a significant contribution in the long run as it requires no warm up prior to printing the first page.
The company is committed to helping businesses and people play their part in protecting the environment under its Be Cool campaign, focusing on details that make a world of difference. All its products are aimed at reducing energy consumption, enhancing productivity, and minimising the overall environmental impact.
Epson has already sold 50 million EcoTank printers globally, which translates to an estimated reduction of 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from consumables. It is also the No. 1 Ink Tank Printer Company Worldwide for 11 years running, based on IDC Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker in the fourth quarter of 2020.
You can click here to find out more about Epson’s EcoTank printers.
This article was written in collaboration with Epson.
Featured Image Credit: Smbceo
* Statistics above are based on results from internal testing conducted by Epson, using Epson L6550 ISO Color 12ipm vs Laser model ISO Color 22ppm test for power consumed to print 20 pages. Testing single page A4 document of ISO Office Final PDF (ISO/IEC 24734). Each test was conducted twice by Epson to ensure consistency of results. Both printers have been tested under same conditions.
^ Statistics above are based on results from internal testing conducted by Epson. Comparison models were selected from among the top-selling 50% of A4 color laser printers (21-30ppm class) listed in IDC Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker 2019Q3 data CY2018Q4-CY2019Q3 results. The volume of consumables and replacement parts needed to print 200K pages was calculated by Epson based on yields published by the manufacture for each model. Quoted yields are stimulated figures calculated by Epson based on ISO/IEC24712
# Limited to 003, 664 ink sets. Actual yields will vary considerably for reasons including (but not limited to) images printer, print settings, temperature and humidity.