Blog: 5 ways Bristol businesses are going green

With Bristol being voted as European Green Capital 2015, the city is bursting with innovative ways local people and businesses are striving towards a greener future. Here are 5 ways local businesses can go green, save money, and help make the world a better place. Find out more at gogreenbusiness.co.uk.

1. Support safe water supply 

Thali Cafe's sustainability suggestion: 
Make better choices wherever you can!

Who does this? Thali Cafe – award winning Indian restaurants and eco tiffin take-away in Clifton, Easton, Montpelier, Southville and Totterdown.
What do they do? Generally, they “lead by ethics not just profit”. More specifically, they run a scheme called Thali Water with Frank Water, a charity promoting safe water for all. 
How does it work? One litre of Thali filtered water is served to every table in a refillable glass bottle with a voluntary 50p price tag. If customers choose to pay, 100% of the money is donated through Frank Water to people living in the Agra slums.
What are the benefits? So far, Thali has raised £12,500, helping 126 people gain access to safe drinking water. They have also saved money and cut down pollution by not serving water in plastic bottles.
How can your business do it? Contact Frank Water at frankwater.com.

2. Donate unwanted belongings to charity

Their sustainability suggestion: 
Donate your unwanted items and help keep Bristol clean.

Who does this? The University of the West of England and The University of Bristol both pride themselves on sustainability being central to their operations and services.  
What do they do? Encourage students to donate unwanted belongings to charity through the Bristol Big Give scheme.
How does it work? Pop up British Heart Foundation bins are placed in various locations such as student halls or built up student areas within Bristol at the end of every term.
What are the benefits? Over 88 tonnes of donated items were collected during summer 2014, with a value of £180,000. 2015’s figures will be released later this month. Goods donated by students include kitchenware, clothes, food, sports equipment and books.
How can your business do it? Contact the charity of your choice and encourage your employees to donate. 

3. Source local ingredients

Bordeaux Quay's sustainability suggestion:
Think about your children and their children. [That should be your] main motivation for trying to live life as green as possible.

Who does this? Bordeaux Quay – harbourside dining, deli, baking, and cookery school taking the most “sustainable approach possible”.
What do they do? Buy local, seasonal, organic, and ethically sourced ingredients. 
How does it work? Bordeaux Quay source as much local, seasonal, wild and organic produce as they can. The fish, for example, come from Cornish day boats as opposed to trawlers. Managing Director Alex Murray says, “the haddock is not only incredibly tasty it’s also MSC approved”.
What are the benefits? Buying local promotes better health, reduces fossil fuel consumption, and improves the biodiversity of the local environment. 
How can your business do it? Check out the Bristol Local Food Directory for more info. 

4. Save electricity

Who does this? Trinity Community Arts based at the Trinity Centre, a multi-purpose space hosting a diverse range of activities and events, providing a hub for community, arts, education, and heritage activities.
What do they do? Use LED lighting to save power. 
How does it work? Trinity received funding from Bristol Green Community Building Fund to switch to LED lights, which last longer and are more efficient than conventional lighting.
What are the benefits? As well as an estimated 30% saving on energy costs compared to traditional lights, staff have noticed an improvement in working conditions, with fewer headaches at the end of a long day.
How can your business do it? Contact a local provider of eco-friendly lighting for more details and a quote. 

5. Promote sustainable tourism

The Greenhouse B&B's sustainability suggestion:
These days it really is easy to source sustainably, so I think it’s a "why not" for businesses, rather than a "why".

Who does this? The Greenhouse B&B a four star, Green Tourism Award winning bed and breakfast in Southville, Bristol.
What do they do? Source only the best and most ethical produce including local, fair trade, and organic food, whilst ensuring their facilities are as environmentally friendly as possible.
How does it work? The carpets are made from recycled water bottles, the carpet underlay is made from recycled tyres and all the tap fittings are eco-taps. The linen and towels are organic cotton which are laundered in house with energy efficient machines and eco cleaning products. As for the food, Fran is a member of the Essential Food Co-op which provides wholesale organic and fair trade food at cost price.
What are the benefits? The taps ensure that 50% less water is used and the energy efficient machines decrease the electricity bill. By Fran being part of Essential Food Co-op it allows her to acquire better produce at a lower price, making sustainability an affordable option. 
How can your business do it? Seek out better alternatives for operations and services wherever possible. To create your own 'Go Green Action Plan', visit Bristol-based gogreenbusiness.co.uk.