Building a green, sustainable business is one of the prudence things you can do in 2020 and beyond. Not only will employees be more interested in working for you and remaining loyal to your company, but customers will be more inclined to purchase goods and services from you. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be helping out the planet, while saving money as you reduce your carbon footprint.
When “going green”, your company doesn’t have to lower overall material production, but rather start using resources and energy more efficiently and reduce existing streams of waste.
Below are 10 simple ways you can make the switch to become a green business.
1. Begin With an Energy Audit
Begin by checking for ways you can increase your sustainability and decrease costs. A great first step is an energy audit since it appeals to both your budget-conscious staff and eco-conscious ones. An energy audit usually leads to lighting efficiencies recommendations that also deliver long-term cost savings. For great PR, inform your clients of your sustainability efforts as well.
2. Involve Your Employees
As a business, you might not always have the ability to produce eco-conscious items, but you could help support companies that are doing so. Involve your teams in helping with an objective of creating better eco-conscious behavior.
This is a great way to:
- Create camaraderie
- Create a joint team effort
- Take an authentic approach to help make a better world
Make being a “green” business part of your company’s culture.
3. Pay the Bills Online
This is a simple fix. Stop online bill paying and set up an online direct transfer to help cut your paper mail and how much paper you’ll have to recycle. This is just one way you can “go digital” to help your company go green.
4. Reduce the Convenience Addiction
According to the EPA, in 2017, individuals in the U.S. produced around 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste. This is 4.51 pounds each day per person.
By decreasing everyday staff habits that are revolving around single-use items, businesses can decrease their environmental footprint and waste production simultaneously. One great example these days that you’ll see in various offices is the single-cup coffee makers. One big can of coffee grounds can make more than a hundred cups of coffee for much less the cost of single-serving, non-recyclable coffee pods.
Beyond just providing recycling bins around the office, take a look at the office and think of different ways you could possibly decrease waste. For example, rather than purchasing plastic water bottles and paper cups for your staff and customers, encourage them to bring their own refillable water bottles and cups. If you provide your employees with an office kitchen, use your own bin to compost your kitchen waste and instead of using single-use throwaway servings, use bulk condiment containers.
Switch to hand dryers in the washroom and kitchen areas instead of paper towels. This can also make a significant contribution toward maintaining a paperless office.
5. Use Reusable Bags and Eco-Friendly Packaging
Excessive use of plastic and other materials and packaging are having a drastic effect on the environment. Many consumers will pay more to receive their goods in a sustainable way and avoid plastic packaging.
Reusable bags in grocery stores is a good example of this, and gives you the added benefit of a walking advertisement. When adding custom information and logos to reusable grocery bags, choose water-based ink instead of dyes and inks that could have a detrimental effect on the environment.
Companies across a wide industry range use packaging on a day-to-day basis to:
- Send remote workers resources
- Deliver products to consumers
- Share sample items to potential suppliers and customers
Businesses that source out reliable bespoke packaging providers can design items that don’t just fit the purpose and are practical, but also good for the environment as well.
With today’s advancing technology, it’s easier to create high-quality, professional packaging and reusable bags that provide a sustainable solution. For instance, “bioplastics” are made using 100% biodegradable materials like vegetable oils and fats that are far better for the planet than standard plastics that can take a thousand years to decompose.
5. Utilize Crowdsourcing
Ask all vendors and staff to share their thoughts on ways for your business to be more eco-friendly. Have a consultant or diverse employee team take the crowdsourced ideas and evaluate how feasible each one is. Come up with a shortlist of the most impactful, promising ones. Once you start implementing them, make sure you let your stakeholders know the progress you’ve made.
7. Hand Out Reusable Bottles
Cut back on paper cups or bottle water use in your office by distributing reusable thermoses or bottles to your employees so they can start refilling instead.
8. Purchase Recycled Paper
There are various options of recycled paper you can buy for cutting down on required resources for those items you’re not printing.
9. Help the Less Fortunate and the Environment
When businesses conduct renovations, during the demolition phase, they often send their usable materials to the landfills instead of recycling them. You could turn these materials into a tax-deductible, charitable donation instead of paying for them to be sent to a landfill.
For example, Habitat for Humanity will take everything from used lumber to appliances and sell them for reuse, which keeps a large amount of materials out of the landfills every year. They use the proceeds to provide work for your neighbors and for funding low-income housing construction in your company’s community.
The next time your company is needing a renovation, seek out a LEED-certified contractor and look for different opportunities to recycle, salvage and buy used materials during the renovation project.
10. Recycle Your Electronics
Another perfect way of benefiting people in need and helping the environment is by not tossing your electronic equipment into the landfills. Electronic waste, also called e-waste, is the quickest-growing stream of waste worldwide, with around 48.5 million tons of it having been produced in 2018. Therefore, consider charities or schools in your area that could put your electronic items like your smartphones, computers, printers or tablets to good use.
Building a green business won’t happen overnight, but by taking steps today, even if small, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more eco-friendly company that is more appealing to consumers and beneficial to the planet.