The Five R’s of Sustainability

The Five R’s of Sustainability

Last week, we looked at ways to get a green business off the ground in Canada. In the latest in our green-friendly series, we’re going to take a look at The Five R’s of Sustainability and how you can incorporate them into your business.

In Canada, we’re proud of our standing as one of the world’s most environmentally aware countries. We’re also keenly aware there’s still plenty of work to be done to improve our score. In 2016, Canada was responsible for almost 25 million tons of waste, an increase of 200,000 tons compared to 2014. Access to recycling and composting has never been easier, while green initiatives are more prevalent than ever before. So, what gives?

Small businesses form the backbone of the Canadian economy and have a uniquely powerful position from which to become sustainability leaders. All they have to do is follow the “Five R’s” for cutting down on waste.


Take stock of the items used by your business that simply aren’t needed anymore. Are you overly reliant on paper? If so, consider switching to digital alternatives. Does your business send out or receive junk mail? Stop sending it, and request that you stop receiving it. Look at whether you’re utilizing single-use plastics. If you are, switch to sustainable alternatives.


Unfortunately, there’s always going to be some waste. There are products we need to conduct business we simply can’t do without. Attempt to reduce your reliance on these products where possible and switch to greener alternatives. Businesses have been quick to offer products that are far less damaging to the environment. Make use of them where you can.


Introducing a company-wide effort to cut down on your waste won’t just help the environment, it will have a tremendous effect on your bottom line. When printing, use both sides of the sheet of paper. Thinking of buying new office furniture? Don’t just throw away your old furniture, it can often be re-sold or even donated to a good cause.


A workplace recycling program should be considered a quick win when looking to make your business eco-friendlier. Place recycle bins near points of wastage such as your kitchen or beside the printer. If possible, place recycle bins beside staff desks to help cut down on waste associated with food packaging. The recycling effort should extend to any computer hardware you’re looking to dispose of. Most of these items can be safely recycled.


Did you know, old desktop computers are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to energy wastage? Sure, they may be reliable but they are incredibly inefficient. Modernizing your work hardware can lead to energy reductions close to 90 percent. Make sure to look for the 80 Plus designation when purchasing hardware to ensure you’re dealing with the highest standards of energy efficiency.

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