It is now more important than ever, at domestic as well as business level, to take care of our environmental responsibilities. The oceans are choking and landfills are filled to the brim. It was revealed in a recent report that more than 230 million tons of waste is thrown away by Americans each year and this number is higher than for any other nation in the whole wide world. However, it is still not too late and there are still some time available to turn things around.
One of the best ways to create and lead a positive change is to operate a green business. It is not only excellent for the environment but also for your bottom line. Your business has the potential to save a lot of money in the long run by adhering to the three Rs of Waste Hierarchy that include reduce, reuse and recycle.
Without taking any more of your time, here is what’s recommended for businesses that want to take ownership of their overall environmental footprint:
- Office Supplies
More than 4 million disposable pens are simply thrown away every day in the US alone. Keep in mind that these are just pens suggest Custom Earth Promos. You can cut down on this waste by simply keeping pens that can be refilled. Refilling of pens also makes it easy to keep track of the pens instead of just losing the pens and replacing them with newer pens. Also, reusable pens turn out to be cheaper in the long run.
You should also seriously consider having a member of your staff or the office manager to keep track of stationary supplies. It is important to be transparent and explain it to the staff that this new process is to make business more environmentally friendly and not to cut down on supplies. It will take some time but eventually, people will come around and start to take ownership of their own environmental footprint.
You may also consider having a waste review or audit in order to figure out the amount of waste thrown out by your office. You also need to be aware of the things that can be recycled. Keep in mind that contaminating recycled material with even a tiny amount of non-recyclable material may cause the entire material to be dumped in landfill which defeats the entire purpose of recycling.
Another way to make your business greener is to focus on green procurement. Take a close look at your procurement policies when you are looking for suppliers, and choose services and goods that do not need too much packaging and have been produced sustainably. You also need to ensure that the products you are buying do not contain any toxic substances and can be easily recycled and are not harmful for the environment. Ideally, you should buy supplies made from renewable materials. You should be curious and inquisitive when speaking to your suppliers in order to figure out the real source of supplies and how you’re going to get the supplies when they finally reach you.
The best way to begin your environmental friendly approach is to find local suppliers. Try to find local businesses that can take care of your business requirements. There are always smaller suppliers that may not have a big online presence but are capable of taking care of yours requirements.
Tip: Find out whether your suppliers are willing to take back the packaging for recycling or reuse. It is also recommended to try to find couriers that use carbon neutral delivery methods.
The digital era has finally arrived. It is true that you are going to use some envelopes in your business, especially when you have to send out direct mail letters for which you will need envelopes. There are eco-friendly envelopes available in the market that can be reused. You should switch to these envelopes to make your business more environment friendly.
You also save money by using reusable envelopes as there is no need to provide a separate reply envelope with your mailings as these simply reverse and can be reused. You also save money on warehousing, operating costs as well as by reducing waste. Your customers are also going to appreciate your efforts.
In case your business requires high volumes and is placing orders of 500,000 or more, or needs envelope printing, you should try to get supplies from a company capable of delivering responsibly on your request by taking into account the impact of a high-volume order on the environment.
Tip: Make sure your mailing lists are always up to date as it will prevent sending out of unnecessary letters which will save you printing, paper as well as postage.
- Web Hosting
As suggested by this Facts collection site, it is estimated that all the web servers in the US consume electricity produced by equivalent of five nuclear power plants which means a lot of environmental damage. Since servers are required to be on at all times, the website of your company leads to a consistent strain on environmental resources.
Green hosting offers a solution. It means that part of energy consumption is derived from renewable power sources. It is not only friendly to the environment but also affordable. Keep in mind that the hosting company makes its own energy and has already saved a lot of money. These savings are then passed on to the customers which makes green hosting affordable as compared to the traditional choices. For similar cost, you get to help the environment while also retaining the trust of your clients and making sure that your business is always available online.
It is estimated that more than 17 billion pounds of office equipment and furniture is dumped into the landfills in the US each year. This happens due to a variety of reasons such as branch closures, refurbishing projects as well as moving of offices. It is a significant problem as such a huge quantity of material should not be dumped into the landfills.
For instance, dozens of chemicals and materials are used to make a typical desk chair. Most of the office equipment and furniture is made from plastic, metal and wood and it has a long lifetime which means the products can be effectively repurposed. You should also keep in mind that these materials are regarded hazardous in case these are not disposed of properly which means repurposing or recycling these materials should be the first choice.
Before you spend money on new furniture, you should seriously ask yourself whether your office needs all that new furniture or is there a way to up cycle or update the existing furniture. It will not only save you money but will also be better for the environment.
Each day, more businesses are finding ways to use renewable energy as they are now directly feeling the impact of climate crisis on their bottom lines. In fact, many are also discovering that a lot of money can be made in an economy powered by renewable energy.
Use alternative energy for powering your office as it is generated from renewable energy sources including solar power, wind power, hydropower, plant matter as well as geothermal. With solar energy and wind energy increasingly becoming cost competitive as compared to fossil fuels, it is economically imperative to address the climate crisis. Earlier, only bigger businesses could take advantage of the green energy incentives but smaller businesses also want these incentives now.
The National Energy Renewable Laboratory has noted growth of 4% in the voluntary power purchase agreements in the year 2015 in the sale of green electricity. The contracted green power sales grew by 13% in the year 2015 which means a total of 10,200,000 MWh of green energy is available for use.
A traditional power purchase agreement earlier required a company to buy 100 MW and the time period for such a contract was for 20 years but these days, contracts available for smaller businesses might require just 10 MW stretched over a period of 10 years.
- Computers and Related Accessories
The old computers and related accessories can be recycled in a few ways. You should begin by asking the vendor of new replacement computer whether they buy back or take back the existing computer. Many companies including HP and Dell have asset recycling programs wherein they do just this.
You should also check with the local office supply store to find out the terms of various e-waste recycling programs offered by these offices. Your business may also be able to get a tax deduction by donating computers in decent working conditions and less than five years of age to various organizations that refurbish old computers.
So, take advantage of these smart tips for keeping the planet green and creating a safer and sustainable future for everyone. These might seem like small steps but these will not only make a big impression on your existing customers as well as potential customers but will also help in reducing your own carbon footprint.