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Materials and Products

The materials and products we use on a day-to-day basis all have their own associated environmental impacts, such as: resources used to create them, impact on the people who created them, transport demands, energy needed to run them, final waste outputs and so on. Sustainability is important at every stage of this lifecycle from resource acquisition to final disposal.

How to make a change

  • Implement an ethical, sustainable procurement strategy. Support sustainable and equitable businesses, who’s values align with being environmentally friendly.
  • Buy products which are certified ‘sustainable.’ For example, Fairtrade products ensure that standards around sustainability, fair pay and working conditions have been upheld. When sourcing wood and paper products, look for those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • Share your equipment and facilities – within the office and within the community, to reduce the ever-growing demand for more new items.
  • Avoid products which are known to be unsustainable, for example pesticides, cleaning products damaging to aquatic life, or single use plastics. When buying products consider whether it is recyclable or compostable at the end of its use, or whether it will end up polluting our land long into the future.
  • When replacing office equipment buy second-hand, for example furniture or refurbished tech. Utilise swap shops to get rid of items you no longer need, as well as find those that you do.
  • Look out for greenwashing, where companies make themselves or their products seem more environmentally friendly than they are. Avoiding greenwashing can mean putting a lot of effort into researching the claims companies make, but for companies with a true environmental commitment, the evidence should be readily available on their websites.
  • If you must make any purchases, and you can afford to, choose higher quality products over cheaper and less durable items, to prolong their lifetime. Often more expensive items come with warranties or have associated repair services in place to ensure you get the most for your money.
  • Source Fairtrade teas and coffees for in the office.
  • Use cruelty free and environmentally friendly cleaning products, for example avoid washing up liquid labelled ‘Harmful to Aquatic Life’ and opt. for cleaners such as Ecover.

Example Actions

  • Replace purchases of (x) products with Fairtrade or sustainable certified products
  • Advertise equipment which you may be able to share within the community
  • Stop buying harmful cleaning products, and replace with eco alternatives

Useful Links

Streetbank is an online sharing community, where you can post your own items to share or borrow from your neighbours. With apps like this, the more people that use them the better they become.

Gumtree and Freecycle are online platforms for either giving away or selling unwanted goods, where you can list or find items that you need. /

Traditional platforms such as Ebay are still an excellent way to find second-hand goods.

Download an Action Plan so you can set your own goals!

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