Greening your business can lead to a range of great benefits. First and foremost, green businesses help work toward a more sustainable Earth. In addition to these long-term, ideological goals, to go green and reduce your carbon footprint has immediate benefits. Going green may give you a market edge. After all, if you feel good about going green, imagine how great your customers will feel. Even more so, it’s one of the easiest ways to cut costs within your business. While converting to an environmentally friendly business often seems like an expensive process, you can go green without spending a whole lot of green yourself. To help you get started, here are a five easy and effective ways to go green:
The 5 Easiest Ways for Your Business to Go Green
1) Install energy-efficient lighting
If you are concerned about costs, just remind yourself that the bulbs would have burnt out eventually. According to EnergyStar, efficient lighting uses a whopping 75 percent less energy and lasts 6 times longer than traditional bulbs. You may even wish to install desk lamps or standing light fixtures to replace the ceiling lights. With individual lights, you have greater control over your energy use. Finally, make sure to use sunlight to your advantage. Rearrange furniture to catch the most natural light and keep obtrusive objects away from the window.
2) Designate carpool parking
Transportation is the largest single source of pollution in the United States, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In addition to o-zone depletion, air pollutants have been linked to heart and lung disease, reports the New York Times. Go green and designate favorable carpool parking spots, which encourages employees to cut down on this dangerous pollution.
3) Go Paperless
Digital documents save trees and business funds. Instead of printing memos, send out group e-mails. If you do need a paper announcement, try printing one copy and posting it on a bulletin board. You can even send your clients paperless correspondence, if they agree. Services like Adobe Acrobat’s Echosign and Docusign allow you to request and receive legitimate digital signatures. Electronic statements might even mean faster results, including quick orders and timely payments.
4) Pull the plugs
Your electronics draw energy from outlets even when they are turned off, so go green and encourage your employees to unplug before they leave for the day. According to the Economist, standby power (from unused but plugged in devices) accounts for 10 percent of household electricity usage. Provided the number of computers and appliances in any given workplace, this number may even be higher for businesses. In short, unplugging cuts down on your carbon footprint and your energy bill at the same time. To make this process easier, try connecting multiple electronics to a power strip, so you can pull out just one plug for multiple devices.
5) Use reusable cups and containers
If you have a coffee machine, provide ceramic mugs instead of wasteful plastic cups. On top of contributing to landfills, disposable cups end up costing you a good amount. One business owner told Entrepreneur Magazine that cutting down on disposable cups saved him $9,000 a year. 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.