What are sustainable business practices?

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Green may save you some green!

These days, everyone is trying to economize, not only for the sake of cost savings, but also to save our planetís resources. It is only natural to hear "sustainable business practice" and wonder about the potential cost of your efforts and whether or not they will benefit your business. Will you have to spend more money in order to reduce your carbon footprint? What exactly is a carbon footprint anyway? Here are few explanations of what are sustainable business practices to help you decide if you want your company to take part in a sustainable business plan.


Sustainable business practices simply means conserving your energy and reducing your companyís waste. Both of these practices actually result in reduced cost for your company in the long run even if you decide to, for instance, convert to gas heat or to install solar panels to take advantage of the sunís energy. But letís start with simple changes your company can make to easily conserve our planetís resources.


Many companies, including large businesses and small ones, have built their entire business on sustainable business practices. They promote not only environmental sustainability, but they also promote eco-standards by building partnerships with like-minded companies.


For example, the cotton bags used to package gourmet gifts by a company that promotes sustainable business practices, for example, are made out of scraps purchased from poor populations. The economically depressed population is paid to sew cotton bags which allows them to send their children to school, not otherwise possible due to their poverty. It is all about working with other like-minded companies to perpetuate sustainable business practice making it the standard rather than the exception.


What can your company do?


Recycle ink and toner cartridges


Try out a few green office ideas. Instead of buying new ink cartridges, use refillable toner cartridges and ink cartridges. Some companies sell the ink to do it yourself or you can send back your cartridges and purchase re-manufactured ink and toner cartridges. They cost a fraction of what you would pay for new ink and toner cartridges and produce less waste. The used cartridge you send them will then be refilled and sold or "re-manufactured."



Put out recycling bins

Office paper recycling tips are commonplace in home offices. Why not put those in to practice at work? Leave containers for not only paper, but for plastic and cans, and all other waste that cannot be recycled. Check with your town to find out if you can combine any of these items into one bin. By recycling, your are not only helping the environment, but you may be reducing your taxes since many cities earn money through recycling programs. You could even gather the bottles and cans that come with return deposits, return them and put that money toward a yearly office party. 


Go digital

On the subject of paper, you do not need as much of it as you think you do. Studies have found that people hardly touch the papers they file after the file drawer is closed. If you do pull certain files or papers regularly, keep those. Every other piece of paper can be saved on your computer. Using portable hard drives, CDs or even thumb drives, you can keep most of your paperwork on your computer and easily accessible with the touch of a button Ė your computer keys. It creates less waste to print out a list of your important files than it does to print out the whole file, and saves reams of paper. In the end, that is less paper you have to buy ultimately saving your company money.


Ripple effect

All of these ideas are just a drop in the bucket in relation to what you can do to save resources and thereby save money, but if several companies are doing it, it creates a ripple effect throughout the community. Partner with other companies who follow sustainable business practices. By economizing even the tiniest bit, you can create sustainable business practice that can affect the companies and clients you deal with regularly.


Emailing a file and you save printer and copier ink, a few pieces of paper, an envelope or box, and stamps that you no longer have to purchase. Purchase re-manufactured ink cartridges and you dispose of less plastic and use fewer of the resources it would take to dispose of that cartridge. And by recycling your waste, you may ultimately reduce your companyís taxes by saving the city money on hauling fees. It all adds up Ė for the planet as well as your bottom line.

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