If you’re looking for ways to live green in your day to day life, the next logical step is to carry those practices into your business environment. Here are 11 ways to green your business and, as an added bonus in many instances, save money in the process!
Go Paperless or Use PCW Paper
We’ll start a list of ways to do this, and you can take it from there by applying specific methods to your business.
- Communicate in-office and with clients electronically rather than on paper using email, text, online fax like eFax or a service like Google Docs
- Invoice clients and customers digitally
- Choose digital statements from your bank, power company, vendors and suppliers, and pay online too
- When you must print, set up the job to print on both sides and use paper certified as PCW which means it is made from post-consumer waste
- Recycle printed material
Reduce Energy Consumption with CFL and LED Lighting
If you still have a few incandescent lights around, now would be a good time to replace them with energy-efficient lighting options.
There are many ways to do this including repairing leaking fixtures or pipes, installing flow restrictors and water-conserving toilets, using motion-sensing faucets that only turn on when hands are in place to be rinsed and purchasing high-efficiency washers.
Explore Work from Home & Green Commuting
Fewer autos on the road means lowered carbon emissions. Develop plans for employees to work from home when possible or to share rides when they do need to come into the office. Instead of traveling to meet, use an online meeting service such as WebEx or GoToMeeting. One-on-one meetings can also be handled through Skype.
Tap Into Renewable Energy Sources
Wind, solar and hydroelectric energy are all sustainable and don’t require the use of fossil fuels. Talk with your power company to find out if any of these alternative energy forms are right for your company’s building. Not only are they green, you might find rebates and credits offered for the use of renewable energy sources that can reduce your costs. See the Renewable Energy Certificates Registry for more details.
Purchase from Manufacturers Using Sustainable Methods
Environmentally friendly producers are found in most industries. Talk to those currently supplying the products you use, and if they’re not green, encourage them to change their habits, and take your business to a supplier that is doing what is necessary to protect the environment.
Clean Green with Biodegradable Products
A range of eco-friendly products are available for all types of cleaning, from light office cleanup to heavy industrial cleaning. You’ll find them from suppliers such as Charlie’s Soap Distributors and Earth Renewable.
When it comes time to build, choose green materials for the job. Select eco-friendly insulation, concrete, roofing materials, paneling and more. In flooring, choose from green flooring options such as bamboo, cork, linoleum or recovered wood. Some ceramic tile, natural stone and manufactured material is also enviro-friendly. There are several good places to find eco-friendly building materials. The Green Cross Australia project and Green Building Council of Australia can help.
Install Efficient Cooling
A high-efficiency air conditioning system will reduce your energy consumption and cost by 30 percent or more over standard equipment. Geothermal heat pumps and mini-split, ductless systems are especially efficient. Once the equipment is in place, control it with a programmable thermostat that is also Wi-Fi connected, so the temperature can be controlled from anywhere to keep system use to a minimum.
Help Replant our Forests
If your business uses paper, cardboard, wood or other materials harvested from the forest, do your part in replenishing the trees. Whether you simply make a financial contribution to reforestation or go out together and enjoy the rewarding experience of planting trees personally, this is a cause that can make a difference for your generation and generations to come. One such example comes from Brisbane, Australia from Brisbane Tree Experts, and the irony is, the company in question specializes in professional tree removal. Glenn Walton, the guy in charge, says: “…So, when we remove large trees, as a gift to our clients we purchase a tree in Wagga in all places in reforestation program which insures, for us, a little bit of giveback. Within that, we’ve also gone paperless, we’ve dropped our paper consumption by 90% overall… it’s these little things that, for us, on a conscious level, can help the environment.”
Repurpose, Reuse and Recycle
Simple ways to do this include reusing packaging materials, repurposing old doors for desks and work space and turning shipping crates into end tables or storage. Make a habit of recycling paper, plastic, batteries, computers, ink cartridges, phones, cans, bottles, tires, glass and anything else the local recycle centre will take! Find a recycling facility at RecyclingNearYou.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” What can you do to influence the culture at work to be one of reducing, reusing and recycling? The green habits you practice can lead the way to a more eco-friendly business, so be the change!
Pic via Philip Piletic is the author of this article
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