As individuals take more interest in their own carbon footprint, governments and corporations have begun implementing drastic changes to help protect the environment. This is especially pertinent for business travelers. When you're always on the go for your work, even small, eco-friendly decisions can make a huge difference.
Taking the eco-friendly route is not always easy. However, it doesn't have to be this way. Thankfully, there are a number of simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while you work and travel. In order to make a worthwhile change for the environment, let's take a look at the best and easiest ways to be a more eco-conscious business traveler.
1. Opt for public transit.
If you're traveling locally or planning to drive to your next business meeting, consider using public transit instead. In most urban and suburban areas, you can find adequate public transportation to get you to your destination. Using collective modes of transportation like trains and buses helps minimize carbon emissions.
The vast majority of business flights are domestic, so trading in your flight for a train or bus ticket is one of the best eco-conscious decisions you can make. Plus, you can still earn points and apply the travel perks that you get with your best small business credit card. That said, you will need to plan well in advance for these kinds of trips.
Traveling by bus or train takes more time, so you may need to leave earlier or delay your business activities if possible.
2. Fly direct to your destination.
While flying is certainly not the most eco-friendly form of travel, it may be unavoidable in certain situations. If you're traveling overseas or need to get across the country for an important business meeting the next day, air travel is the best way to go. However, there are still ways to minimize your impact on the environment when you fly.
When your flight makes multiple stops, this requires additional fuel and greatly increases the plane's emissions. However, if you fly direct, the emissions are reduced to the absolute minimum. On a direct flight, you can rest easy knowing that the plane will not make any unnecessary stops or diversions during your trip.
3. Cut down on water waste.
This method can also apply to your everyday life, but it is especially relevant for business travel. When you're staying at a hotel, many things like towels and bedsheets only get used once before they're thrown in the wash. This leads to a lot of excess water waste.
Fortunately, it is easy to reuse towels, bedsheets, and other washable items during your stay. Simply notify the hotel staff that you don't want your sheets or towels washed until you're ready to check out. It may seem like a small thing, but if you travel frequently for work, you'll end up saving a lot of water over time.
Business travelers can also cut down on water waste directly by simply using less water. It may be tempting to take long showers when you're not paying the water bill, but long showers can use upwards of 25 gallons of water. By keeping your showers short (less than 10 minutes), you can cut your water use by at least 50%.
4. Bring reusable items from home.
Traveling can lead to a lot of waste with single-use, plastic or Styrofoam cups, bottles, utensils, and similar items. These items are particularly bad for the environment, as they end up in landfills and can take decades to break down. Bringing certain reusable items from home can help you substantially cut down on your plastic or Styrofoam use while traveling for work.
What you should bring will largely depend on the kind of single-use items you frequently use. For example, you might consider bringing your own reusable eating utensils. Another good item to bring is a reusable water bottle, as single-use plastic bottles are very common to see in hotels and business environments. Finally, if you want to do any shopping during your business trip, try to bring your own reusable shopping bag.
Change starts at the individual level, which means that even small decisions can have a ripple effect. Though you may not have complete control over your business trip, there are many personal decisions you can make to be more eco-friendly. Consider implementing one of these eco-conscious choices on your next business trip.