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Main areas of concern

It really doesn’t matter what size your design studio is – running it will have an impact on the environment. There are some simple steps you can make to really reduce that impact once you put your mind to it.

Here are the main areas you should look at in your studio.

Resource use and waste management

Monitor waste and set targets, use double sided printing. If offices throughout the US increased the rate of two-sided photocopying from the 1991 figure of 20% to 60%, they could save the equivalent of about 15 million trees." (from Choose to Reuse by Nikki & David Goldbeck, 1995).

Reuse envelopes, use electronic formats when possible. Consider how all waste (including hazardous waste) is dealt with through legal, responsible and proper measures.

Start to sort your waste. Get rid of small waste bins and put in some communal recycling ones. Contact your local authority to find out about their recycling services for businesses as each area will be different.

Energy use and efficiency

For instance, implement "switch off "campaign for electrics, Get everybody in your studio to turn off their computers and screens before they leave or put someone on monitor duty each day.  As you would do at home (we hope), change to energy saving lightbulbs, have a look at replacing water coolers with filter tap or even try your tap water- it's usually quite good.


Public transport usage, use of bikes and motorcycle couriers when practical and green accredited taxi company account. Make sure you have a clear and developed environmental policy available to all.

Set up a ‘ride to work’ scheme in your studio where you can buy your bike through your work in monthly installments.

Not only can you buy a bike to get you to work but you can save up to 45% on the cost of the bike through tax savings. Most cycle companies run the scheme but have a look at:

Purchasing and procurement Think about everything your studio purchases, including recycled paper/envelopes/toilet paper, refilled inks, environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Products and services

Think about your supply chain and start to get them to source better materials.

Check out the credentials of your printers and ask them about their environmental policies. If they don’t have any but want to change give them some help and incentive.

Awareness and communication

Start by writing an environmental policy and keep amending it and adding to it. Don’t file it under ‘E’. Put it up somewhere so that people can read and add to it too. 

Make sure your environmental agenda is included in meetings and all staff are aware and make it relevant to your business.

See: http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/Ref012



Useful links
Lovely as a Tree Lovely as a tree has a useful links page


Advertising Producers Association

The A.P.A has recently produced a very comprehensive guide containing practical steps APA members can take to reduce the environmental impact of a production. However, most of the information will be applicable to the design industry too, and Three Trees are in the process of compiling one for our industry with the authors.

There's a great directory of links in the back too.


The Green Mark Award   Developed by the London Environment Centre (LEC), this scheme is great for smaller companies who lack the resources for IS0 14001. Companies have to show a commitment to continued environmental improvement, and set targets for reducing environmental impact. [N.B. We went through the process last year at Airside, it's fairly painless.]


Green Your Office  

Also add in http://www.greenyouroffice.co.uk
For really good list of office supplies and also green cleaners and rental printers.

Paperback office supplies  

And http://www.paperback.coop for good office supplies

Office recycling  

For help in setting up an office recycling scheme see:


Over 21% of prints are disposed of before the end of the day.

A systematic waste minimization programme could save 1% of turnover.


Waste typically costs companies 4.5% of turnover (envirowise.gov.uk)

The average British office worker prints 22 pages every working day, and behavioural research suggests that 44% of this is easily avoidable, such as printing drafts or emails, or submitting documents which could otherwise be submitted electronically. Over 21% of prints are disposed of before the end of the day.

Approx. 70% of office waste is recyclable, but on average only 7.5% reaches a recycling facility. 80.6m tones of printing and writing paper enters the waste stream each year in the UK, which is 24% of total UK waste.

A systematic waste minimization programme could save 1% of turnover.

Waste costs more than you may realise. When you consider the materials, the costs of treatment, energy and wasted labour, you’ll find the real price tag on waste is often 5-10 times the cost of disposal.

Great links about waste from Global Action Plan


Get Involved

Please let us know any updates to the information on this page. We are building up our knowledgebank and will transfer this information to a wiki style database once our funding is in place.

Please email info@three-trees.org

    This is one of a series of five factsheets.

1. The Studio
2. Innovation
3. Paper
4. Print
5. Digital

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