How you can help the environment when you’re self-employed
There’s a lot of pressure on individuals nowadays to change their lifestyles in order to help the environment. And rightly so!
While you might already be a recycling fanatic at home, keeping your energy consumption to a minimum and your waste neatly stacked in the right piles, a lot of people don’t manage to do the same at work.
You can probably guess where I’m going next with this, but as a self-employed individual, the choices are yours. What’s more, a lot of the steps you can take can be claimed on your expenses.
You’re going greener, your bank balance is leaner, and the Earth gets cleaner! Win, win, win.
The first thing to consider is how you get to and from your place of work. A lot of people choose to drive, but this is far from the most environmentally friendly option. Every 100 miles you travel in an average petrol car releases around 30kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
So what are your other options? One is to take public transport wherever possible. Travelling to your workplace by bus will almost halve the amount of carbon dioxide you produce, while using a train reduces it by more than 75 percent. And you can claim some of this back through your expenses.
However, none of these reduce your travel carbon footprint to zero. The only way to do that is to walk or cycle, and both of these are great options. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also be getting in some great exercise that will help you to get in shape.
Contracting for most is a route taken to explore working freedom, and earn a few extra pounds along the way. Keeping the planet clean and yourself healthy are vital, but it helps to stay tax efficient. Cycling to work can allow you to claim back 20p per mile for personally owned bikes.
Despite the invention of technology and having our tablets and smartphones glued to our hands, businesses still continue to use more paper than they should. It’s a scary thought to think that the amount of paper produced and used is growing.
Being more aware of your carbon footprint can provide huge improvements, by just a few small changes daily.
For example, you could be making much better use of your smartphone or tablet. When you’re in a meeting or need to take notes, use an app rather than a pad of paper. Not only will this cut down on waste, but it will also be easier to find later.
You won’t need to hunt through piles of paper to find an important document if everything is stored online. Keeping things on the cloud using apps like Google Drive also means you will never have to worry about losing your only copy of something.
Most of us need coffee in the morning to function, but disposable coffee cups are harmful to the environment. Why not invest in a branded reusable one instead? Not only will cut down the waste but it will keep your coffee hot but it will also get your brand out there! Organisations are doing their bit for the environment and pledging cheaper coffee if you reuse your cups.
Making your workspace green
Workspaces can differ when you’re a contractor. You may be working from home, coffee shop or even in an office. There are improvements to be made by tweaking our surroundings. Switch to LED bulbs; they’re energy-efficient and don’t need changing as halogen bulbs so will save you money in the long run.
If you work from home, you will have control over your energy provider, which means you can switch to one that takes more of its power from renewable sources like wind or solar energy. This might cost a bit more, but remember that you can claim £4 per week working from home allowance, which will help to offset the price.
How many of us are guilty of leaving our devices on when it’s time to finish work? Often we keep our computers plugged-in and on standby rather than shutting them down, which can be a surprisingly big waste of power. With the evolution of technology computers can now only take a few minutes to start them up again, so save energy and make sure they’re switched off.
Finally, add some plants to purify the air as you work. This will make your environment more pleasant, it will also help to absorb excess carbon dioxide and contribute in a small way to lowering your carbon footprint.
We can all do our bit to make the planet greener, it may feel like a lot of effort but it’s certainly worth it in the long run. Leaner bank account, cleaner planet. Simple.
If you’re worried about the cost, then think about which of these modifications you can claim as an expense. If you’re not sure, why not talk to Brookson? You can book a free consultation with us, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.