With landfills overflowing and our oceans choked with plastic, environmental responsibility has become a more pressing concern than ever before. Americans throw away more than 230 million tons of waste each year, and businesses are a major contributor.
Companies of all sizes also contribute to air pollution and the creation of greenhouse gases. Our environment is being destroyed at an alarming rate, and most of us are adding to the destruction more than we realize.
How to Create an Eco-Friendly Business Starting Today
The good news? There are several steps you can take to turn things around. Whether your business is a small sole proprietorship or a massive, multi-billion dollar corporation, there are steps you can start taking today to reduce your environmental impact. Check out these ways to make your business more eco-friendly.
1 - Switch to Reusable Office Supplies
In the United States, more than four million pens are thrown away every single day. Simply making the switch to reusable pens that can have their ink refilled could help your business keep a lot of plastic out of landfills.
Cut down on paper waste by replacing sticky note pads with mini dry erase boards, tablets, or notebooks. Taking notes electronically is another eco-friendly option.
Appoint someone to keep track of the stationary cupboard in an effort to help the office go green. With someone paying attention to what products are used and wasted the most, it may be easier to determine additional changes you can make.
2 - Practice Green Procurement
One of the easiest ways to reduce your business’s environmental impact is practicing green procurement. Take a close look at your suppliers and look for suppliers that provide goods that have been produced in a sustainable manner.
Avoid suppliers that use excessive packaging. Make sure your supplies are free of toxic substances that are harmful to the environment, and only purchase materials that can be recycled or reused. Being mindful of where your supplies and goods are coming from is a simple way to make your business more eco-friendly.
If possible, find suppliers in your local area. In addition to supporting your local economy, doing so could reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need to have your products and supplies shipped from distant locations.
3 - Choose Green Web Hosting
Did you know that running all of the servers in the United States is equivalent to running five nuclear power plants? Servers need to be up and running at all times, and that adds up to a lot of environmental damage.
By choosing green web hosting, you can ensure that at least part of the energy needed to power your website comes from a renewable power source. This is much friendlier to the environment, and it is very affordable.
Since the hosting company has already saved money by opting to generate its own energy, it is able to pass savings along to the consumers. This typically makes green hosting more affordable than traditional web hosting. It’s a great way to make your business more eco-friendly, while helping you earn the trust of your customers. Green hosting is also reliable, so you don’t have to worry about your business going offline.
4 - Reduce Your Energy Consumption
There are countless ways to reduce energy consumption in offices and other workplaces. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED fixtures and lights. If possible, consider powering your office using alternative energy. Wind, solar, and geothermal power are all viable options.
As wind and solar energy become more accessible, green energy incentives have become widely available to businesses of all sizes. Business owners can choose to purchase power from green energy sources at reduced rates. In doing so, they can decrease their environmental impact while potentially lowering their operating expenses.
5 - Make Recycling a Priority
Recycling is one of the biggest things you can do to make your business more eco-friendly. Whether you work in an office, a warehouse, or any other type of workspace, there is a good chance that you generate a lot of waste.
Committing to a recycling program rather than sending all that waste to the landfill can make a huge difference.
Start by paying close attention to the types of things you throw away. It’s likely that your office creates more recyclable waste than you realize. Paper products, cardboard packaging, drink bottles, etc. are all obvious things that are recyclable.
However, there are also several less-obvious things that can be kept out of landfills by recycling. Inkjet cartridges and toner cartridges, for example, can be sent away for recycling or re-manufacturing. Since more than 350 million cartridges end up in landfills each year, opting to recycle yours can have a huge impact.
There are also ways to recycle old computers and accessories. When upgrading, ask the vendor if they accept old equipment for recycling. Companies like HP and Dell offer such programs.
You may also be able to recycle e-waste at your local office supply store. If you need to get rid of computers that are in working condition and less than five years old, you may be able to donate them to a charitable organization that will refurbish them.
6 - Reduce Waste in the Restroom
There is one area that is often overlooked when companies are trying to reduce their environmental impact: the restroom. Employees and customers can waste a lot of paper products and water, and leaving a light on all the time burns unnecessary energy.
Replace your existing light fixtures with motion-activated switches that only turn on when someone is in the room. This reduces energy consumption and can help keep your electric bill in check. Install automatic faucets to reduce water waste and replace your paper towel dispenser with an automatic hand dryer.
Final Thoughts on Becoming a Green Business
As a business owner, it’s an important strategic growth activity to make your company more environmentally friendly. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, doing so helps you save on your operating expenses while building trust with your customers.
Taking small steps to run your business in a more eco-friendly manner is easy, and today is a great day to start!
Tania Longeau serves as the Head of Services for InkjetSuperstore.com, overseeing a team of Operations and Customer Service Reps from the Los Angeles headquarters. Tania was previously a team leader and supervisor working for one of the biggest mortgage and real estate companies in the country. She is a happily married mother of one who enjoys spending time with her family and reading in her leisure hours.