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British workers don't bring good environmental habits to work

20 November 2007

A new study by Enviro-Fresh, a Rentokil Initial subsidiary, shows that eight out of ten workers recycle at home but this drops to just six out of ten at work. Only 8% of respondents have ever considered using the short flush facility on toilets at work to help save water.

Brits are leaving their environmentally friendly habits at home with a fifth of UK workers saying they take no steps to be ‘green’ at work. The research shows that:
· Seven out of ten (71%) employees never switch lights off
· Seven out of ten (71%) do not recycle
· 85% do not shut windows if their air conditioning or heating is on
· 93% have never used the short flush at work

The research revealed that one of the biggest areas of workplace environmental apathy is in water wastage. In the UK, over 310[1] million litres of water is wasted by offices every day with
individual workers wasting an average 35 litres each day, 86% of which is a direct result of flushing toilets. However, workers told researchers they are twice as likely to use the short flush facility
on toilets at home than at work.

The study does show that opportunities exist for management to take advantage of worker ‘green’ goodwill – nine out of ten employees say they want to do more to reduce the impact of their behaviour at work and a third would like to receive more information from their employers on how this can be done.

Top five environmentally friendly things that workers would like their workplaces to adopt are:
· More recycling bins (69%)
· Light sensors to switch off lights in unoccupied rooms (59%)
· Toilets with variable flushes (56%)
· Devices to automatically switch off electrical equipment (52%)
· Solar panels (40%)
Mark Gillespie, Managing Director, Enviro-Fresh, comments: “This research shows that employees would like to see more guidance on how they can do their bit for the environment at work, and it’s not just
big things that have an impact – even small steps like installing adjustable flow toilets in washrooms can significantly reduce water wastage. British businesses have caught onto the environmental and
economic benefits of things like recycling, but many are continuing to pour their hard earned profits down the drain. The average business is still wasting three times more water than it actually needs.”

“Compounding the lack of action is the lack of awareness about workplace issues affecting the nvironment, and specifically water wastage,” continued Gillespie.

When asked how much water the average UK office wastes each year, three quarters drastically underestimated the amount and over half were amazed when told the correct figure was 310 million litres.

Dr Martin Gibson, Programme Director, Envirowise said “Although we have just experienced the wettest summer since 1912, both droughts and flooding could be side effects of climate change, and both
highlight the importance and value of water. Once businesses begin to see that every drop of water has a price, both environmentally and financially, they cannot fail to understand how something as simple
as fixing a dripping tap can have a positive impact on their profits and their reputation. Claiming sustainable behaviour is no longer enough, businesses now need to be able to demonstrate that they are
running an environmentally responsible operation, and getting employees on board with that is a key part of the process.”

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