Defra urges manufacturers not to overlook simple ways to save money

Businesses are wasting over £6.4 billion per year by overlooking simple money saving actions, according to a new Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) campaign.

Defra has urged manufacturers to save money by cutting down on waste, and reducing energy and water use. It has launched a campaign under the banner of 'Saving money - it's your business', which it said showed how simple environmental actions can translate into cost savings. It added that it could offer practical advice for businesses on how to integrate resource efficient practices into everyday working life.

"Small firms are facing challenging times, today more so than ever. Finding ways to save money will help businesses retain a competitive edge. Being sustainable is now essential - for your bottom line and for the environment," said environment secretary Hilary Benn. "Simple steps like using less energy or considering what you throw away are easy ways to make savings.  Resource efficiency is the future for all businesses, large and small."

Channel 4's Dumped guru and eco-design expert Rob Holdway also lent support to the campaign. "Whether it's turning off lights, turning down thermostats, cutting down on rubbish, or addressing dripping taps - small sized manufacturing firms are 'leaking' money through bad use of their energy, water supplies or waste products," he said.

"Simple steps such as turning off office equipment when it's not in use can help businesses become financially fit and environmentally friendly. This also has a positive knock-on effect on corporate reputation among consumers. Resource efficiency isn't rocket science but it does require a shift in culture among the manufacturing trade, which I really want to encourage."

Here are Defra's top tips for manufacturing businesses to save energy and make financial savings:

1.      Turn off all office equipment when you're not using it - overnight, at weekends and during bank. Savings on just a single computer and monitor could be up to £35 a year.
2.      Cut lighting costs by as much as 15 per cent, by turning off lights in empty rooms and using energy efficient light-bulbs.
3.       A constantly dripping tap can waste 500,000 litres of water per year. This could cost your business about £400 per year. Make sure you turn off taps fully, and fix any drips.
4.      Save four per cent of your turnover with waste management techniques such as partnering with businesses to recycle waste, or selling it to be used as raw materials.
5.      Save eight per cent on your company's heating bill: turn the thermostat down by one degree.
6.      Ask your suppliers about take-back schemes for unused products. You may be able to get your money back, or at least a portion of the cost.
7.      Save up to one month's worth of fuel over a year via smarter driving, such as reducing loads and good maintenance.
8.      Invest in efficient equipment to help cut your energy, transport and water costs. Government support includes interest-free Energy Efficiency Loans delivered through the Carbon Trust.
9.      Refilling an inkjet cartridge costs about the half the price of a new one. Use email where possible, set out your PC to print double-sided and refill printer, fax and photocopier cartridges.
10. Always publicise your commitment to reducing your environmental impact. More than a third of consumers would favour recyclable products or those with minimal packaging.

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