Although I try to live and work in an eco-friendly manner I thought it's about time I apply the ecobookers principles to ecobookers and see how things are going! There's always more that can be done and sometimes we get stuck in our ways (well, I know I can!), so it's good to sit down and have a good think to see what we can do differently.
Eco-Design - The building we are based in is a 1900 brick building, typical of the architecture in Yorkshire. There's no air-conditioning but the positioning of the house seems to keep it cool in the summer. Unfortunately there is no outdoor space at all, so there's nothing to be done there!
Energy - ecobookers is powered by ecotricity who take the money they receive from customers and invest it in clean forms of power such as wind energy. We also use low energy light bulbs and try to conserve electricity in small ways such as turning off the computer monitors when not in use, turning things off at the plug instead of leaving them on standby.
Although we own a small car (i.e. one which has a small engine and uses very little petrol) this is used very rarely – all shopping and other daily needs are undertaken on foot and public transport, and where possible longer distances are covered by public transport.
Conservation - At the moment I'm sorry to say that we don't have any input into conserving our natural surroundings. As I mentioned earlier, we don't have any outdoor space. However, this is definitely something to look into further as I think we should get involved in a tree-planting or tree-wardening scheme - cities need trees too! If anyone has any suggestions it would be great to hear them!
Ecological sustainability - We recycle paper, plastic and metal cans through the council collections and take glass bottles to a bottle bank. Old clothes are taken to charity shops or to fabric banks if they are not in a good enough condition to sell on. Unfortunately we don't compost as this isn't collected by the council and we have no outdoor space to put the finished result.
Where possible we buy organic and fairtrade food and occasionally we visit the farmer’s market in Leeds to buy fresh, local produce. When shopping we use non-plastic, reusable bags.
The ecobookers office is virtually paperless. Our fax machine is online so that we receive faxes by email (which we store electronically and don't print out) and we don't send faxes, instead we use scanned signatures to authorise contracts. For the odd very little piece of paper we use, we use a type of pen where you can rub the ink out, so that we can keep on using the same bits of paper over and over again! And of course, our toilet paper is made from recycled paper!
Looking at this, I think we are doing quite well for ecological sustainability but we haven't really got any water-saving policies so this is something else to look into in the near future. We could also do more to check that cleaning products and toiletries used on the premises are eco-friendly so that is something else I will look in to.
Community - As ecobookers is so small, we don't employ staff and don't buy much in the way of services, so this is another area where we could do more. More ideas to come....
Well, looking at it all, I think we are setting a good example in our eco-friendly ways, but there is certainly more to do. Any ideas, please feel free to comment!