Going green makes good sense. Sustainable practices save businesses money and earn customer loyalty. Learn how to make your business greener here—and perhaps save money in the process.
Ban Single-Use Products
Americans are notorious for generating massive amounts of waste. In recent years, however, consumers have finally woken up to the unsustainability of disposable products. From plates to coffee cups to fast food containers, office garbage bins overflow by the end of the day with items employees could have recycled or replaced with reusable versions. The office kitchen is a major culprit of this, often providing disposable, single-use condiment packages, utensils, cups, and plates. When employees return to the office, surprise them with their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles. A small business knows its employees well enough to choose items that reflects each employee’s personality. You can also make kitchen recycling easy with clearly marked bins for recyclable paper, cardboard take-out containers, and disposable cups.
Conserve Water and Energy
Saving water in commercial buildings requires cooperation and investigation. Repair drippy faucets, and install low-flow fixtures. Replace water-guzzling lawns with native drought-resistant plants. Make sure the building’s infrastructure, including the water and sewer pipes, is sound and free of leaks. Warning signs of leaks may include fluctuating water pressure or unexplainable increases in your water bill.
Switching to LED lights is another way to make your business greener, saving energy and your electricity bills. Make “sleep mode” a standard operating procedure when employees are away from their computers for longer than a few minutes. Find out if you can change your power source to “green energy;” many utilities offer some sort of green energy program. You could also use a green web hosting service. Internet providers use a lot of energy, and they’re aware they need to reduce energy consumption—ask your web hosting service what they do to reduce energy use.
Buy Used Furniture, and Recycle or Donate Old Supplies
Used office furniture and refurbished electronics keep a lot of waste out of landfills and save businesses money. When your computers or other electronics become completely defunct, take them to a reputable electronics recycler. Some municipalities also accept electronics. For larger commercial operations, private electronics recyclers may provide pickup and haul-away services.
You should also remember that a great deal of construction materials that usually end up in landfills are actually reusable. If you’ve recently renovated your office space, check with charitable organizations to find out if they can accept any old appliances, fixtures, or lumber as a donation. These might help build a house for a family in need.
Cloud computing has made paper nearly obsolete in many office environments. Follow through on your commitment to becoming a paperless business with e-mailed receipts, direct deposits, and electronic pay stubs. Eliminate paper hand towels in the bathrooms and replace them with energy-efficient dryers.
Locate Near Public Transpiration
Ideally, you and all your employees could walk, bike, or take public transportation to work. Offer transportation benefits to encourage employees to use public transportation when they can. Encourage carpooling to reduce emissions and to remove extra vehicles from the road.