This is sponsored content for Canberra Tradesmen's Union Club.
When it comes to making changes for the sake of the environment, every change counts no matter how big or small. That's the exact approach The Tradies are taking.
The club has both major projects and seemingly-small management changes being implemented and creating huge impact
On the smaller-scale side a range of changes have been made to power and gas use, and new coffee cups are being introduced.
While simply changing cups seems small it will create a huge impact with The Tradies going through about 200 cups a day.
It's a common misconception that coffee cups are recyclable or biodegradable.
Most are not recyclable and they are only biodegradable with the lids removed and can only be broken down in a commercial situation which isn't available in the ACT.
To combat this, The Tradies will be one of the first in the ACT to introduce Bamboo fibre PE & PLA plastic free, 100 per cent recyclable coffee cups.
This change will reduce the amount sent to landfill and divert it to recycling, a win for the environment and The Tradies.
Other practices in place to reduce landfill include separating food waste and coffee grinds, using clear bin bags instead of black so it can be sorted if required and sending plastic bottles to recycling.
Waste reduction has only been a focus for the past few months and the results are staggering with waste sent to landfill dropping by one third.
"These changes are led by the CEO and management and it trickles down to the staff who implement these changes," facilities manager Steven Blakemore said.
"The great results come from our staff making the effort to sort waste at the back end."
While reducing the amount of waste produced, they're also reducing energy consumption.
A significant reduction in energy usage from management changes was made possible by data monitoring which has been in place since 2014.
"We can see every switch board in real time everyday," Mr Blakemore said.
"This means we can make a change and quantify that within 30 days. We know exactly where and how much electricity is being used each day, we don't need to wait until we get our bill at the end of the quarter."
Almost every area of the business has been put under the microscope and had changes made resulting in a combined energy reduction to date of 60504 (GJ).
This includes a 50 per cent reduction in gas usage this year compared to their baseline year.
While The Tradies is reducing the amount of energy they use, they're also producing their own clean power with a 100-kilowatt solar system with 307 panels.
The system install was supported by a grant from the ACT Government under the Community Clubs Sustainability Program, alongside their own financial contribution.
This was the largest system they could install practically which has covered about eight to nine per cent of their energy consumption this year to date. The goal is to cover an average of 11 to 13 per cent for the calendar year.
"Some days we're covering about 13 per cent of our power usage and other days it might be six depending on the conditions," Mr Blakemore said.
"So far, this system has reduced CO2 emissions by 80,500 kilograms which equates to 1681 trees planted."
Continuing the emissions savings are the EV charging stations which were installed using a grant from the Community Clubs Sustainability Program.
The Tradies took this project further by paying for load monitoring to allow for additional chargers to be added in the future.
The club now has two a dual-port charging station where two vehicles can be charged simultaneously. Use of the chargers is free for members of The Tradies.
Looking to the future
Despite all the changes and projects currently underway the team are also looking to the future with a wastewater heat recapture project in the pipeline.
This would see heat from waste water used to heat the incoming water using exchanges and heat pumps.
"We have all this hot water going down the drain so the idea is to use it to heat the new water coming through," Mr Blakemore said.
Creating environmentally friendly ways of working will continue to be a key consideration for The Tradies in the future.