The environment is a hot topic not only in politics, but in everyday life as well. Companies are making strong pushes with green products, mainstream television is promoting green living, people are making the move to more environmentally friendly products and services. It seems that in many ways, going green is the new way to market to consumers. Unfortunately, especially for small businesses, it is a rather capital-intensive process that in most cases can not be fully implemented all at one time. There are, however, ways to operate your business and do your part to help the environment, and save a bit of your own green in the process.
1. Don’t use the trash
One of the most popular ways to save the environment is by recycling. Many governments have been requiring their residents to separate their recyclables from non-recyclables for years, but that is on the residential side. There is no regulation as far as commercial recycling goes in many areas, especially when it comes to office buildings with several (or hundreds) of tenants. The good news is that there are ways to get rid of items of business nature without trashing them. I cannot speak of the country as a whole, but in the South Florida area, about once a quarter, there are local computer/electronic recycling stations set up in the parking lots of some of the larger stores. There, the agencies will collect all of the items and dispose of them in a manner that is less harmful than simply leaving them in the regular trash to sit in landfills for all eternity. In the case of ink and toner, several of the office supply store are enabling members of the rewards programs to trade in their empty cartridges in exchange for reward dollars. By going this rout, not only are you helping to save the environment, but also essentially getting store credit toward future purchases.
2. Take advantage of technology
Another popular method of reducing the environmental footprint has been to reduce the need to travel by car. This helps in several ways: by reducing the consumption of gasoline, reducing carbon emissions, and in turn the tires generally last longer rather than having to be replaced (particularly since the disposal of rubber is rather messy and environmentally unfriendly). With the popularity of the internet and the advances in the technology used to deliver the electronic content, videoconferencing has gone from a method once used solely by public, multinational corporations to something that grandparents can now use to see the grand kids more often. Why not implement something similar in your business? On the smallest scale, for a one-on-one conference, all it takes is a high-speed connection and a web cam. By doing so, you will not only save money on gas and tolls, but think of the time that you will be saving. Rather than traveling back and forth, possibly sitting in traffic, you will now have that time available to be productive and billable.
3. Something borrowed (or fixed)
Of course, another very easy way to incorporate cost savings with being environmentally friendly is by purchasing used/refurbished. Some people shy away from anything that isn’t new because of the lack of warranty against failure, unknown treatment or conditioning, and most of all, receiving the item DOA (dead on arrival). One solution, however is to simply purchase refurbished/display model-type products from reputable stores or direct from the manufacturer. Not only will you get it at a discounted price, but you will get the store’s warranty and possibly and additional manufacturer’s warranty. Computer manufacturers for example have outlets in their web stores where they sell older models and refurbished ones as well. By purchasing refurbished, the need to produce new parts for a new product are eliminated, saving on the need to consume more materials and the corresponding waste produced in the process and there is the additional benefit of the cost savings as well. Even better is the purchase of floor display models from retail stores: office furniture, equipment, computer equipment all right there for you to examine for functionality and cosmetic health.
Obviously, there are numerous other ways to operate your business so that it spending less capital while also being environmentally responsible such as going paperless to conserve the forestry, using light bulbs which consume less voltage and conserving electricity, using recycled paper products, and many many more. The preceding were simply a few of the most cost-effective and simple techniques to implement without making wholesale changes to the way your business operates.
In what ways to you try to makes your business more eco-friendly? Perhaps you have plans that you are working on? It doesn’t take much , and every little bit helps.