For most UK businesses right now, becoming more sustainable can feel like a big decision and one made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic and its legacy.
Businesses have a lot on their plate right now and going green can seem like a distraction from more pressing financial and social matters.
Gyms and fitness centres were closed for 3-months during the UK lockdown, and it’s going to take time before the industry can recover to pre-pandemic levels.
If Coronavirus has shown us anything, it’s that global issues can affect individual businesses from nowhere. There’s little doubt that Climate change is the next biggest challenge of our time
and whilst it should be everyone’s responsibility to help stop global warming, it’s also an opportunity for businesses to attract new audiences, increase productivity, and to potentially generate more money.
How to Make a Gym Sustainable
It takes a lot to run a gym efficiently. You have to factor in equipment, energy-usage, staffing, health and safety, marketing, lights, equipment, etc…
If want to make a gym sustainable, it’s fine to start small and build up. There are lots of things that you can do to make your gym more environmentally friendly without breaking the bank or upheaving your entire business model.
Becoming a sustainable gym is also a great way to connect with customers who make buying decisions based on their social conscience. Customers often connect with brands they believe have the same values as them.
And when you’re making your gym more sustainable, it can be a great green marketing tool, too, and a way of improving the way people view your brand just as long as you’re being honest about your sustainable policies.
It’s worth remembering, too, that the closer we get to the UK Governments 2050 net-zero carbon target the more businesses are going to be under pressure to make greener decisions.
- You should ban single-use plastic bottles throughout your gym. This means encouraging users to bring in reusable drink bottles. You could even sell them, too, branded with your business or with a design that reflects your gym or ethos. Single-use plastic bottles are an environmental nightmare. You probably already know about the issues with recycling the bottles but did you know the UK uses 10 million barrels of oil each year just to produce water bottles!
- You should start looking at the amount of printer paper and toner you’re using. Paper wastage can be huge in some businesses; it’s easy to keep buying reams and reams of it and dropping it into the recycling bin when you’re done but each sheet represents deforestation. You should take a closer look at how much you’re printing (and whether it’s necessary) because ink cartridges and toners that end up in landfills are a huge environmental problem. Online recordkeeping comes with its issues (how eco-friendly are the servers you’re using, security concerns, privacy, etc) but it can save space in your office, make your databases easier to search and save you burning through expensive, environmentally damaging toners and cartridges.It’s a good idea, too, to look at exactly what you’re printing off regularly. You click a button and a coloured sheet comes out with information on but what happens next? Do you and your team need to keep printing everything out? Being more stringent on what you’re printing out can save you money.
- Adding sustainable gym equipment to your inventory is a great way of turning wasted green energy into usable electric power to run your gym and reduce energy bills. Using electricity-generating bikes, for example, is also a powerful way of proving your green credentials. You don’t need to replace your existing stock, either. Clean-engineering companies like Energym can retrofit energy-harvesting devices to your current gym equipment.
- You can also switch to LED lightbulbs and use gym flooring made from sustainable materials like bamboo. Motion sensors which only activate when someone is approaching can be a great way of maintaining safe light levels without keeping the bulbs burning all day, too.
- If you’re energy saving, you can also be water-saving, too. This can be a big deal if you’re running showers and changing rooms. Water-saving devices can reduce the amount of water wasted at no noticeable amount for the end-user.
- Bringing people in for meetings? Can these conversations be done online via video software? This will save the carbon emissions they’ll use to come in on their commute. It’s also going to save a lot more time for everyone.
- Eco-friendly cleaning products are a really easy way of starting to go green in your business.
- You could also add things like compostable towels into the bathrooms.
- How about sustainable clothing and sportswear that you could sell alongside reusable water bottles? We’re not just talking about a giant logo of your company but an attractive design that makes people want to buy it.
The answer for how to make a gym sustainable is to start from the ground-up. You don’t need a big budget to make real eco-friendly changes. Understanding how to make a gym sustainable is one-step towards building a brand that’s not just better for the environment but better for its employees, members and everyone.