Greening Your Business
With a few simple steps, your business could be on the right track for sustainable development. Operating a green business helps both the environment and your business. By conserving resources and cutting down on waste, as well as saving time and money. Using these tips as guidelines, you can make your business a more environmentally friendly place!
Develop a Plan
- The first step to becoming involved in sustainable development is to choose or formulate the sustainable development principles your business is going to follow.
- Developing a new mission statement or set of future goals that includes sustainable practices and initiatives is a good starting point and shows that your business is committed to sustainability.
- LED Bulbs
Replacing traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones can save you money in the long run. According to EnergyStar, an energy efficient lighting company, efficient lighting uses a 75 percent less energy and lasts 6 times longer than traditional bulbs.
- Individual Lighting
Another way to reduce electricity through lighting is to install desk lamps or standing light fixtures to replace the ceiling lights. With individual lights, you have greater control over your energy use, by enabling employees to turn on and off lights when they do not need it.
- Natural Lighting
And most importantly, make sure you are using sunlight to your advantage. Rearrange furniture to catch the most natural light and keep obtrusive objects away from the window. This can make a huge difference and allow you to turn off most lights during the daytime hours.
Reduce Electricity Use
Your electronics draw energy from outlets even when they are turned off, using as much as much as 25 percent of the energy you intake.
- Turning off equipment when it's not being used can dramatically reduce your energy intake. In addition to this, turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
- Unplugging cuts down on your carbon footprint and your energy bill at the same time. Encourage your employees to unplug before they leave for the day. To make this process easier, try connecting multiple electronics to a power strip, so you can pull out just one plug for multiple devices.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Printing & Packaging
- Digital Documents
Digital saves trees and business funds. Encouraging communications by email instead of printing out memos, send your clients paperless correspondence, and send electronic orders and statements instead of mailing them.
- Reduce Faxing
Reducing fax-related paper waste by using a fax-modem and by using a fax cover sheet only when necessary. Fax-modems allow documents to be sent directly from a computer, without requiring a printed hard copy.
- Use Both Sides
When you have to print our papers and documents, produce double-sided documents whenever possible, and always recycling them afterwards!
- Recycled Paper
Find a supply of paper with maximum available recycled content. Choose a recycled matte premium paper stock for deep, rich colors and a soft, professional sheen.
- Soy Ink
Switch from VOC-emitting petroleum inks to eco-friendly soy inks. It causes less harm to the environment and are actually capable of producing more vibrant colors.
- Reusing Packaging
Choosing suppliers who take back packaging for reuse to reduce the waste created and save trees.
Reduce Plastic Waste
- Use Reusable Cups
If you have a coffee machine, provide ceramic mugs instead of wasteful plastic cups. On top of contributing to landfills, the cost of disposable cups adds up and greatly surpasses the cost of investing in ceramic mugs and/or reusable cups.
- Provide Reusable Containers
For employees who run out to buy lunch, keep your office stocked with reusable containers. Chances are employees can take the containers to their favorite lunch spot, replacing plastic and Styrofoam take-out containers. Some restaurants may even offer discounts for providing your own container.
Carpooling and Public Transit
- Designated Carpooling Parking
Transportation is one of the largest single source of pollution in the United States. In addition to that, air pollution has been linked to several health problems. By designating favorable carpool parking spots, it encourages employees to cut down driving to work individually, reducing the amount of pollutant emissions.
- Public Transportation
Encourage employees to use public transit as a way of transportation, rather than driving. Match bus fares in raises or other encouragements for employees to use these services.
Empower Your Employees to Go Green
- Encourage Green Changes Positively
One of the most powerful tools you have as a small business owner or manager is influence over your employees. You can exert this influence in a positive, green business manner by encouraging them to go green in their own homes and on the job.
- Create Green Challenges
Challenge your employees to come up with creative and cost-efficient ways to go green at work and to go green at home, and reward those whose ideas you implement. This way, your employees see first hand the benefits of enacting green efforts and the positive results their contributions have on their workplace and community.
More Ideas to Go Green
For even more ideas, check out the Broward County Green Business page to view their tips on how to green your business!