In many business circles these days, you’ve probably heard that green is the new black. But using sustainable business practices isn’t just a fad. Some businesses structure their entire operation around being green.
If you’re not able to do that, focus on the little things. Here are ten ways to show the environment you care without spending a lot of money.
1. Cut Down on Paper Use
You probably use more paper than you even realize. An employee prints out a couple of emails for reference. Someone photocopies a memo to share with several coworkers. You send out paper bills or advertising mailers to your customers.
To reduce paper usage, try the following:
- Encourage employees to use email whenever possible.
- Store company-wide documents on the cloud.
- Give customers an incentive to do away with paper billing.
- Use social media or create a YouTube channel to talk to customers.
2. Turn Your Website Green
Do you do a lot of business through your website? You probably think you’re already in the win column for eco-friendly business practices, but you may not be. Check with your web host to see if they’re using renewable energy sources. Some web hosts even specialize in using green energy, and their plans can be cheaper because of that.
3. Be Smart About Lighting
LED light bulbs are more expensive, but guess what? They last way longer. Which means over the long term, you’ll spend less money replacing light bulbs. Plus, your energy costs will go down because you’re using energy-efficient bulbs.
You can take your lighting crusade further by opening the blinds. Let natural light do its job during the day. Remind employees to flip off the lights in the break room after they’ve had their coffee. You could also install desk lights to brighten up workspaces without turning on the overhead lighting.
4. Monitor Employee Travel Times
If you’ve got staff that trek around the city daily, then you’re probably adding to the air pollution problem. Using a mileage tracking app can help you see how much your people are driving. After reviewing the automated reports, you can work to reduce that figure by making some changes:
- Have employees carpool.
- Schedule off-site meetings in nearby venues.
- Find alternate routes, so drivers don’t sit in traffic jams.
5. Work With Green Manufacturers and Vendors
No matter what line of work you’re in, you probably use some outside agencies to help run your business. Have your vendors and manufacturers show you what they’re doing to minimize their footprint. If there’s not enough effort here, you might shop around for new companies to do business with.
6. Make Office Recycling Easy
Effective office recycling isn’t just about throwing blue bins in every room. Some staff will avoid using the blue bin because they don’t know what should go in it. Look into separate bins for paper and plastic so there’s no confusion.
You could also hang a small sign above the bins with a list of items to recycle and things that can be trashed. A good place to go big with these top-of-the-line bins is in the break room or kitchen.
7. Dispose of Old Electronics the Right Way
It’s not a crime to want new computers that work well and have current tech advancements. But if you’re getting rid of decent computers or electronics, don’t just toss them. Most big chain stores that sell electronics have recycling programs to make sure these don’t go to waste. Many also have incentives that can save you money, like discounts on new equipment.
8. Stay Home
Assuming you trust your employees not to watch YouTube videos all day, have them work from home when possible. Overhead energy use is brought way down, and vehicle pollution is no longer a factor. Use your office space for meeting clients or instances when you need the whole staff together in one room.
9. Adjust the Thermostat
Offices notoriously (and unnecessarily) make you feel like you’re working on an iceberg in Antarctica. Turn down the air conditioning for maximum energy efficiency.
You could also install a programmable thermostat. This way you can schedule your system to run only at certain times when people are actually in the building. Set different temperatures throughout the day as the weather outside heats up and cools down.
10. Schedule an Energy Audit
Say you’ve implemented all of these green business practices examples and you have no idea if it’s made a difference. An energy audit can reveal where you’re using the most energy, and professionals can suggest additional ways to cut down. This practice can be a valuable way to identify changes that are personal to your business.
Start Small and Monitor Changes
If you’re ready to make your mark on the green scene by reducing your footprint, start small. Make the changes that are easiest and find ways of tracking the numbers to see if you’ve improved. Going forward, you can gradually adjust your plan to make sustainable business practices the norm for your company.
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MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.