Top 20 hacks to reduce your Carbon footprint as an SME Manufacturing business.

Hand holding a tree inside a lightbulb with environmental ideas around it. Representing environmental issues and ideas.

What can SMEs do quickly and at low or no cost to reduce their carbon footprint? Here are some quick wins that could start you on your Net Zero journey.

As an environmentally conscious manufacturing business, reducing your carbon footprint is a top priority, but how can you do that quickly and at low or no cost? Here are 20 simple and straightforward ways to reduce your manufacturing business’s carbon footprint without breaking the bank and help you make meaningful progress towards decreasing your environmental impact.

  1. Understand the difference between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3- just knowing this will help you see quick wins more clearly. Deloitte has a great explanation here.
  2. Measure your carbon footprint. It’s one of those quirks of nature that just by looking at it you’ll find ways to reduce it.
  3. Ask your suppliers what percentage of their materials are recycled. They may have another product available they can swop to at no extra cost to you and at no loss of protection to your products.
  4. Ask your suppliers what the recommended way to recycle their product is and then inform your customers of how to safely dispose of or recycle it.
  5. Take a really close look at your outgoing packaging- is it over engineered for the job? You may be able to reduce an element of it and reduce your costs and your carbon footprint.
  6. Look at whether you can burn any of your waste safely and invest in a boiler to heat your offices or factory.
  7. Find a waste provider who is committed to Zero to Landfill and ensure nothing gets wasted. You may be surprised to find you can reduce your overall waste costs at the same time.
  8. Your waste may be worth something to someone else, take a look and you may be surprised what some materials sell for.
  9. Make sure your temperature controls are both timed and season controlled to ensure you’re not wasting money heating or cooling when no one is there.
  10. For offices, set an official policy on room temperature. This will have the added benefit of reducing any arguments about the office being too hot or too cold!
  11. Return ink cartridges so they can be refilled and use refilled ones in return.
  12. Turn off any kit you’re not using- computers, chargers, office equipment, machinery.
  13. Can your operations equipment such as forklifts, be converted to rechargeable electric or solar?
  14. Can you put solar panels on your roof? Or at least switch to a green energy tariff.
  15. If your windows are in direct sun take a look at applying window film to see if it would keep your offices cooler.
  16. Consider converting one of your local delivery vans to electric. It will make a massive PR statement as well as reducing your carbon footprint.
  17. Consider putting showers and a bike store into your offices if your staff live close enough to walk, run or bike into work instead of driving.
    • Some companies even hire a mini bus to collect their employees and bring them in!
  18. Can employees car pool? Could you incentivise them?
  19. Involve your staff and ask them what savings they can see- what do they do at home that you could incorporate in the business?
  20. And lastly- tell everyone about the journey you’re on. The more people that know about it the more you’ll get more support, more tips and more CO2e savings.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

Mark Twain

Steel suppliers Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal are offering Green Steel Certificates for some of their products. Take a look here to find out more about these and how they can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Benbow Steel’s Enviromental Policy can be viewed here.


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