Green Business Practices

There’s an extensive push towards going green these days in any and every industry.  It’s great to help the environment, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out exactly how to do that without increasing your expenses.  Here are a few ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment with just a few changes in your office:

Energy

Wasting energy wastes money.  There is no reason to waste energy when there are plenty of ways to save energy without effecting the routine within your own business practices.

Your computer is probably on throughout the day.  There is likely no opportunity to change that, but you can change how you use it.  First, change your screensaver from the typical options (I know you’re rotating through pictures of your family or watching the Windows logo fly around), and set your computer go into sleep mode when inactive.  You can set this feature to trigger at any custom interval, so feel free to make it work best for you.  When you leave the office at night, turn it off or put it on sleep mode, and turn off the monitor.  If possible, switch to a laptop (they use 1/3 the energy of a standard desktop), you may have one around the office already. If you’re in the market for a new CPU for the office, look into purchasing an energy-efficient unit.

The same goes for lights.  When your office is open, feel free to light it up.  After hours, turn off anything that you won’t be using and leave on only what you must.  Swap out your traditional bulbs to the more energy efficient options like compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or LEDs.  Printers, modems, and speakers that you don’t need running when the office is empty can also be shut down overnight and especially for the weekends.

Resources

This is another area where you’ll personally see a change in your costs.  Think about how much you throw out in a typical day.  For most offices, that can be quite an impact on the environment.  Now think about what you could do to change those practices.  Some ideas are simple, but will go a long ways in helping the environment and saving you money.

First, paper can pile up quickly.  Don’t print every email, as you can read them on your computer or mobile device easily.   Use email for communications whenever possible, using traditional mail only as necessary.  Cut back on your paper storage of information, as this can all be kept in electronic form and accessed faster. With the multitude of companies offering cloud backup these days, you can have your files backed up both on site and offsite. You can also request to be removed from junk mail lists and switch over to electronic versions of bills and invoices.  These things will save you time as well as paper.

Packaging can be a significant contributor to your waste, especially if you are involved in shipping products to your clients.  Realize that most of this packaging will be used once and thrown away. In your own office, I’d suggest taking the extra effort to save packing peanuts and similar items for reuse.  You can save a lot of money by reusing what you have, or using less in the first place.

Finally, think about the little things.  In my office, post-it notes once accounted for a large volume of trash.  Now, everyone has their own white board, which can be reused again and again. Whiteboards can be purchased or even made. There are painted solutions out there today, which allow you to turn any wall or smooth surface into an instant dry erase board.  If your office doesn’t have a recycling program, start one.  I added a recycling bin near our receiving desk, which is used for anything that the recycling company will take.  Contact your own local recycling provider to find out exactly what can be taken.

Remember, going green can do more for you than just provide PR.  A little bit of effort can really improve the conditions of a business. It only takes some thought into what you can personally do.  Plenty of other ideas exist, feel free to experiment and find out what else helps you out.

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