Ways Businesses Can Go Green
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
For awhile, people called the green movement a fad. They were wrong. Decades into the trend, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their homes and businesses. But organic and green choices can be expensive. And that’s not an easy sell in today’s cautious economic times.
If your business is looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, here are some proven ways businesses can go green without putting the bottom line into the red.
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10. Use eco-conscious giveaways
Reduce the waste stream by using certified eco-friendly giveaways for your company’s promotional items and trade show merchandise. And even with recycled materials, take care to avoid indulgence. A smaller bag, leaner giveaway – on that fits into a purse or pocket, or that is honestly useful, is a better choice that something that is thrown away because it can’t be easily packed to take home.
9. Go paperless
More and more companies are replacing paper tickets, itineraries and receipts with paperless versions customers can access and use on their smart phones or tablets. Not only does it reduce customer frustration with lost papers, it allows your business to reduce the amount of paper used in house and by clients.
8. Skip the paper cups
Disposable cups, spoons and plates can add a lot to a company’s trash, so replace the throw-aways with reusable, washable cups, flatware and dishes. Encourage each employee to bring their own from home, or boost team spirit with custom imprinted mugs, thermal bottles or cups.
7. Provide convenient recycling bins
One of the biggest barriers to recycling is inconvenience. Everyone is busy, so spending time toting piles of paper or plastic to bins outside or in another part of the building just doesn’t work. The solution is as simple as placing recycling containers where people work like in offices, near copy machines and in break rooms.
6. Support telecommuting
Experts estimate that employees waste an average of 42 minutes commuting each way, each day. That commute wastes fuel, time and negatively impacts employee effectiveness, too. By supporting telecommuting, your company can help reduce fuel use and pollution. (It also reduces costs for your company, because you’ll need less office space and have lower utility bills. A double win!)
5. Go off the grid
Opting for renewable energy is an effective way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, and save money, too. Yes, there is an upfront cost. But with newer, higher efficiency technologies, the payback time is drastically reduced. That means that installing solar panels or rooftop turbines will drastically reduce energy bills for years to come, leaving you with more money to invest in building your business instead of powering your building.
4. Replace old, inefficient equipment
You know that old computer or server you’ve been putting off replacing? That old copier you’re holding together with bubble gum and bailing wire? You might think you’re saving money by waiting to buy a new one.
But odds are it’s costing you more money to keep it than to replace it. I know it sounds odd, but newer electronics are more energy efficient than older ones. Stand-by and sleep modes have gotten more effective, too. That means buying a new computer (and of course responsibly recycling the old one) is the green choice.
3. Use timers
For lights, electronics, machinery and even break room appliances, timers can reduce energy use by turning off the power when no one is around. Energy vampires (things plugged in even when they’re off) can cost you hundreds or even thousand a month and waste untold amounts of energy. Adding timers can turn off things you don’t need during off hours. Timer based power strips can eliminate the vampire effect, too.
2. Choose environmentally-friendly building materials
If you’re building or remodeling your business space, make sure you select environmentally friendly construction and finishing materials. Paints and carpeting that don’t off-gas, wood processed without toxic adhesives or finishes, and energy efficient lighting are just a few of the choices you can make. Check out LEED certification if you want to take it all the way to the best in earth friendly construction.
1. Reuse, repurpose
One of the best…and simplest…ways to make your company greener is to adopt a policy of reusing and repurposing wherever possible. So what does that mean? That old desk with the scratches? Fix it, paint it and reuse it instead of tossing it out and buying a new one. The cabinet that’s too beat up for the public facing office? Turn it into warehouse storage. It’s all about imagining a new use for things that seem to be past their prime or no longer useful in their original setting.
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Going green won’t happen overnight. But with a plan and a commitment, your company can soon be a part of the solution for our troubled earth.
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