Steps to Greening Your Business

Steps to Greening Your Business

Most businesses are not founded with the objective of being green. It’s more likely to be something you migrate to over time – often when you realize that being green can result in a profitable business model while attracting new customers. So if you have never taken the path toward greening your business, here are some helpful hints to get you going. Just remember the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle.

1. Energy - install compact fluorescent or LED lights; use awnings, blinds and/or fans to control heat; use smart strips to automatically turn off peripherals when computers are turned off; buy Energy Star when you need new appliances; use thermostats with automatic setbacks.

2. Water usage Encourage the use of refillable water containers; install aerators on faucets; use recycled or storm water for irrigation; landscape with native plants.

3. Waste eliminate unnecessary paper usage – read it from the screen; do double-sided, black-and-white printing; send invoices electronically; use online time tracking and expense reporting systems; eliminate disposable drinking and serving-ware.

4. Pollution reduce the use of hazardous substances (look for cleaner alternatives); help reduce air pollution through programs encouraging carpooling, telecommuting and mass transit; store hazardous materials securely and dispose of appropriately; replace aerosols with pump sprayers; have live plants on your premises to improve air quality.

5. Donate or exchange used or unwanted, but still reusable items (computers and supplies) to schools, not-for-profits, or other organizations that can benefit from them.

6. Consider buying from thrift shops and antique stores when furnishing your premises (furniture, pictures and accessories).

7. Shred used paper and use it for cushioning when shipping packages; reuse old boxes for shipping where possible.

8. Stock kitchen/break area with reusable tableware (plates, silverware, glasses, mugs).

9. Provide recycling bins and publically visible signs; post signs of what can and cannot be recycled to eliminate confusion; compost where possible.

10. Purchase paper with recycled content (including printing, note paper, bathroom and kitchen paper) – preferably 30% post-consumer or greater; identify and use companies that specialize in green office supplies (e.g. The Green Office, Greenline Paper Company, Green Works).

REMEMBER:  Going green is not an all or nothing proposition. Businesses can pursue actions that, over time, will add up to a greener workplace and community, as well as a healthy, sustainable environment for our children.