Nowadays, it is very hard to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and everything around us seems to have a negative impact on the environment. But, even though you may try your best to be as environmentally-friendly as you can be, you can actually do more than just living a green home life. How can you do that? Well, if you own a business, then you know how deleterious it can be. Either by using energy to heat the building or by not removing waste, your business can truly affect the community and the planet in a harmful way.
Moreover, the industry may be very important for the economic expansion and the development of modern society, but, at the same time, it can be very detrimental to the environment. Some negative effects of the industrial process include health issues, extinction of species, climate change, pollution to water, soil and air, and the list can go on. So, if you have not switched over to an eco-friendly business yet, then you for sure need to continue reading below in order to find out how to reduce your carbon footprint and make the world a better place. But before getting into that, first, let’s see some of the environmental issues caused by business and industry.
How can businesses negatively affect the environment?
Air pollution emissions
It is well-known that the industries are responsible for emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, methane, radioactive radiation, small dust particles, and finally, VOCs, which means volatile organic compounds. Since these pollutants are really damaging the environment, the greenhouse effect, climate change, ozone hole and desertification happen because of industries. Moreover, these pollutants can be harmful to humans, animals and food crops too.
Industrial effluents, be them treated or untreated wastewater, have a negative impact on the environment and they are more harmful than municipal (domestic) wastewater. Moreover, untreated wastewater includes environmental damages such as degradation of treated wastewater, damage of transport and wastewater treatment systems, and finally, pollution of groundwater reservoirs.
One of the main causes of land contamination is the leakage from the fuel and energy industries. For example, soil pollution sources include oil refineries, oil depots, gas station, garages, coating factories, metal treatments, chemical plants, and pipelines that transport gas. Likewise, because of the lack of washout, such pollutants remain in the soil for a long time.
Coastal and marine pollution
Many of the pollutants that are thrown away into the sea are more or less the result of human activities. Of course, some of these pollutants are biodegradable, but many are not, and this results in multiple environmental issues. Thus, sea level rise, sedimentation, the eutrophication phenomenon, and pollution by chemicals are just some of the many damages linked to coastal and marine pollution.
Another main cause of land contamination includes dangerous goods, which are also known as hazmat or hazardous materials. Thus, they are used in a variety of businesses, such as agriculture and industry, and if these hazardous materials are not rightly stored or treated, then they can be very harmful to the environment and the human health. Also, dry cleaning businesses, printing businesses, the textile industry, and other sites where you can store hazardous materials are an important cause of land pollution.
Be it dry waste or organic waste, solid waste is mostly generated by human activities. In recent times, the Environmental Protection Ministry’s policy dreams of making the world “zero waste”, but this goal will only be achieved if people will actually start to recycle and care more about their waste. Moreover, corporate waste is also a form of solid waste and more and more businesses should try to reduce their carbon footprint.
Asbestos and dust
Asbestos means friable or cement and products that contain asbestos are very hazardous to the planet. Moreover, asbestos fibers can lead to human diseases such as ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer, clubbed fingers, benign pleural disease, lung cancer, and finally, asbestosis, which is a pulmonary disease.
Radiation and noise
Sources such as mobile broadcasting centers, x-ray machines, accelerators, radioactive materials, and electrical installations are very dangerous for the environment and for people too. Moreover, by frequently exposing yourself to loud noises can lead to physical and mental problems.
What can you do in order to help save the environment?
Recycling is the answer. Of course, you may think that recycling is a waste of energy, but it can truly help you save time, space and money. Moreover, there are many companies that can bring you solutions designed to minimize waste and the best part is that you will not have to spend a lot of money in order to reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Likewise, suppliers such as Miltek in New Zealand say that waste baler machines are ideal for business waste, including cardboard, paper, plastic, polystyrene, and so on. Another way of reducing carbon footprint is to install an energy-efficient system and be careful not to leave on the equipment if you are not working. This means that computers, printers, photocopiers, and other such things, need to be turned off during non-working days.
By reducing waste, a business can also save money on supplies, offer “green” products to its customers, reduce waste disposal costs, and conserve natural energy as well as resources. You can even motivate your employees by organizing an environmental project and if you call yourself an environmentalist, then you may even take into consideration composting. So, food scraps, yard trimmings, and other such organic materials need to be your number one concern. Also, if you want to make better choices in the future, then buy recycled paper, reuse manila envelopes, give up to hard copies and only use your computer instead, replace cardboard boxes with reusable boxes, and order products in bulk that also have minimal packaging. When it comes to food and personal services, talk to your employees about the possibility of them bringing their lunches in durable and reusable containers, and install automatic hand dryers in the restrooms in order to avoid using paper towels.