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10 Ways to Become a More Eco-Friendly Business

You’ve decided to become a more eco-friendly business. That’s great news. Now it’s time to identify what that means to you, your employees, and your customers. The good news is that going green doesn’t have to break the bank. You may even find it has a positive return on investment while improving the health of your employees.

Offices are notorious for having poor air quality. When you consider all the toxic cleaners used, constant printing, and the use of furniture that is built using particleboard held in place with formaldehyde-based glues it becomes easy to understand. We will address all of this.

There are countless ways to become a more eco-friendly business and the key is to simply get started. Chances are good that your employees will be happier which tends to lead to a positive bottom line. Don’t worry about hitting everything on the list if it doesn’t make sense for your business. The key is to make continual improvements.

Eco-Friendly Business Tips:

  1. Ditch the Styrofoam. This material lasts an eternity and doesn’t biodegrade. What’s worse is that it’s remarkably difficult to recycle so most recycling centers won’t accept it. Offering coffee to your employees is great, but get rid of the foam cups. Some companies use this as an opportunity to provide branded mugs to team members that helps show how the company is going green.
  2. Implement a workplace recycle program. Station the bins in kitchen areas, conference rooms, and near printers for convenience. Keeping the bins visible and regularly emptied is a great way to show employees you are committed to be a more eco-friendly business.
  3. Reduce printer usage. Too many companies are print happy and the result is a steady stream of printed material that doesn’t get used. Educate employees on appropriate printer usage – for example, printing an email that is stored on a server is unnecessary. Further, document-sharing with solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint or Google Apps ensure a higher level of collaboration than experienced by distributing hard copies. Consider reducing the number of printers and whether all job functions truly require an ability to print.
  4. Use post-consumer waste (PCW) paper. If you absolutely need to print something, at least consider using PCW products for the job. PCW paper is completely made from recycled paper requires roughly 40% less energy to manufacture versus traditional papermaking processes. An alternate to PCW would be using one of the available tree-free paper products. These are often made using banana tree or sugar cane fibers.
  5. Be responsible with your electronic waste (e-waste). Don’t toss old electronics in the dumpster –those machines can serve a new purpose for someone else and certified refurbishers act as a middleman to get electronic equipment destined for a landfill back into the hands of someone that can use it. Frequently that comes in the form of a charity or non-profit that can benefit. Recycle outside the box. To take your eco-friendly business to the next level, consider sourcing your own equipment from a refurbisher. You get to save money on the purchase and the equipment gets a second life. Check here for more on e-waste.
  6. Examine your office lighting. If you are working in an office space that is 10-years old or greater you may have a tremendous opportunity for savings in overhead lighting. Many property managers are now willing to make investments in office space improvements for more efficient lighting due to state-specific incentives. If your office uses fluorescent lights that require three bulbs or greater, you have an opportunity to be a more co-friendly business and save money. Converting to modern compact-fluorescent (CFL) or LED lights will make a huge dent in your monthly electric bill.
  7. Get an energy audit.  A quality audit will examine the quality of the building envelope and give you an understanding of where you have large energy consumption. If you run a datacenter, be sure to have it examined for savings opportunities. Here’s one quick tip, your datacenter temperature no longer needs to be set below 70 degrees. Ask your IT team to partner with your energy auditor for best results.
  8. Encourage carpooling and public transportation. Not only encourage these forms of transportation; but be respectful of employees that elect to use it – no 5:00 meetings. Also, you can see if your community offers corporate discounts on public transportation passes as additional incentives for your employees.
  9. Use safe cleaners.  Traditional office cleaning products are highly toxic to your employees and introduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to the air. VOCs can cause a wide range of employee and customer health problems ranging from irritated respiratory systems to kidney disease in more severe cases. VOCs commonly found in offices include formaldehyde, butoxyethanol, styrene, perchloroethylene, methylene, chloride, vinyl chloride. Natural cleaning products reduce your employees’ exposure to unnecessary toxins. Be sure to procure healthy options for cleaners and hand soaps. This is an easy way to be an eco-friendly business.
  10. Bring plants into the workplace. Plants clean the air by scrubbing out VOCs and carbon dioxide. As a side benefit, they also help with employee morale. Some good plants for removing VOCs include English Ivy, rubber plants, Boston Ferns, Pothos, and the Peace Lily.

Get Started and Become an Eco-Friendly Business

Following these basics will help get you started on the path of building a more eco-friendly business. Not only that, it will help you generate significant savings in your energy consumption. Where you start is up to you; what’s most important is that you take that next step. Take action and get your employees involved.

Once your program is established, don’t be shy about it. Tell your customers. Be proud of what you’ve started and let them know. In most industries, being an eco-friendly business is a differentiator that customers admire.

Still looking for more tips, here are a few more to be a more eco-friendly business:

  • Stop the use of air fresheners or fragrances – these oftentimes contain more VOCs and do more harm than good.
  • Verify that your HVAC system is properly exchanging fresh air with the outside.
  • Conduct renovations when employees are not at work. New paints, carpets, and other sealants can push air quality to toxic levels if not properly ventilated.
  • Ensure only all natural pesticides are used.
  • Turn the lights off when a room is not in use. Power your computers down at night and eliminate the use of screen savers. Check our electronic energy savings tips for more information.
  • Get your employees involved – make this a cultural event for your workplace!

About Post Author

Susan

My name is Susan and I am a stay-at-home mom who loves to blog and share tips for managing home. I have been married for 8 years and have three kids. I know what it is like to try to keep a household running smoothly while also trying to take care of a family.
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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022