Green initiatives around the world are taking off as more and more people become aware of how their activities affect the environment surrounding them. There are numerous ways in which your business can be redesigned to join this global movement toward a greener life. Here are ten steps that can get you started on making your business more eco-friendly.
#1 Have Your Business Audited for Energy Efficiency
One of the first things you should do in your journey to make your business more eco-friendly is to get a business energy audit. Auditing programs are available through a wide variety of avenues, some being state or government-sponsored. As you prepare to “greenify” your business, this audit can clue you into what needs to be improved to reduce your eco-footprint and start you on a more sustainable path in your industry.
#2 Keep an Eye on Printers and Copiers
Of course, one of the most common pieces of advice we hear in discussions of “greening” up your space and life is “recycle, recycle, recycle.” This advice certainly has its merit, as it is one of the most reliable ways to cut back on waste, shrink your footprint, and improve the sustainability of your lifestyle.
Of course, the most notable things that must be recycled are paper products. Offer recycling bins throughout the office space and encourage staff to reduce the frequency with which they print. When it’s time to get rid of the ink and toner cartridges, recycle them at drop-off bins offered at local office supply stores.
#3 Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Light bulbs such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent (CFLs) are great alternatives to poor, inefficient lighting in office spaces. Don’t be discouraged about the initial cost. These light bulbs will inevitably save your business money while chipping away at your energy footprint. How? They last 2-10x longer than the standard incandescent lighting you were using before, with a 30% increase in energy efficiency.
#4 Update Your Electrical Appliances
There is no doubt that the equipment in your business office has run its course concerning its maximum performance and standard compliance. Don’t be too short-sighted when it comes to matters of replacing these elements. Invest in equipment that will not only last your company several years, but that will meet rising the expectations of energy performance today.
According to Energy Star, human activities related to the production of electricity are significant factors that contribute to ever-increasing carbon emissions. Incorporating more energy-efficient products into your office space is a tremendous step toward making your business more eco-friendly. Examples of equipment that can be swapped out for their better counterparts include:
- Imaging equipment
#5 Repurpose Old Office Materials by Donating
The old equipment that is being swapped out has to go somewhere, right? Avoid contributing to landfill waste by donating the materials to charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. The most convenient time to implement these eco-friendly practices is during renovations, for example.
While the facility is being overhauled, look through the unwanted materials, and identify what is still usable. By donating rather than scrapping it all, you’ll reduce your contributions to landfills and support your local community.
#6 Switch to Solar Energy
Although the upfront cost may be a little steep, this option will help you to be both more energy- and cost-efficient. Even with the (seemingly) hefty price tag, solar energy is among the cheapest, most accessible forms of energy available today.
When business owners choose to reduce their carbon footprints in this manner, they can reduce their energy expenditures by up to 75%. You may even qualify for state or government-sponsored programs that offer incentives to those who use solar alternatives to go green.
#7 Introduce Incentives for Employees to Commute in Eco-Friendly Ways
Instead of conforming to the norm of commuting by car, encourage your staff to travel to work by bicycle or public transportation. Most businesses are currently shifting their entire workforce to virtual office spaces. Review your business needs and operations to determine whether this would be a viable option for you. This way, your business’s footprint is reduced, but each one of your employees as well.
#8 Eliminate Single-Use Products from the Workplace
Too many offices are stocked with single-use items such as small plastic cups, disposable coffee cups and sleeves, and unused plastic utensils. Even little things that typically go unnoticed, such as mechanical pencils and pens, contribute to single-use plastic pollution. You can reduce these items in the office by:
- Switch to reusable cups and containers (and encourage employees to do the same)
- Switching to recyclable paper products instead
- Recycling or reusing plastic pens and pencils
#9 Reduce Company Use of Water
You can tremendously reduce your footprint by cutting back on water use. How? The problem of wasting water is more likely to lie in unseen issues, such as hidden leaks and poor design of plumbing and irrigation systems. Have these elements of your business evaluated by a qualified professional and work with them to improve their efficiency. Redesigning cleaning protocols to include pressure washers will also reduce the amount of water needed for maintaining facility grounds.
#10 Focus on Green Procurement
As the owner of your company, you have the power to decide where your office equipment and other operations materials come from. Instead of just choosing your sources without any diligent research, vet your suppliers according to their development practices.
Ask yourself the following questions as you vet potential suppliers:
- Are these materials manufactured or harvested sustainably?
- Do these manufacturing practices excessively contribute to ozone damage or expel harmful chemicals into the atmosphere?
- Are the products made from renewable materials?
Making your business more environmentally friendly is a lot more straightforward than most people think. By introducing these practices into your workplace today, you can ensure a safer, healthier tomorrow for the entire world.