These days, there’s an increasing focus on reducing our environmental impact. Many businesses offer recycling programs and even have composting, while some companies encourage carpooling, offer parking spaces for hybrid vehicles, or move their operations into environmentally friendly buildings.
There are many things you can do as a business owner to make your business more environmentally friendly, but it’s important to take steps that represent permanent change rather than doing something large that winds up being unsustainable for your business or employees.
Here are four small changes you can make that have a huge environmental impact, without altering your parking structure or moving to a new building across town:
1. Buy reusable pens
Straws and plastic bags aren’t the only items that clog up the environment. Millions of disposable pens are thrown away every year. We wouldn’t suggest you stop writing altogether—although it would also cut back on paper use—but switching to reusable pens has a massive impact on the environment.
First, by reusing pens you’re preventing disposable pens from winding up in landfills. Second, refilling the ink involves less packaging than buying new pens, further saving the environment.
There’s a bonus for your business, too. Although at first reusable pens are pricier than disposable pens, in the long run it’s less expensive to refill them than it is to buy new disposable writing implements. You’ll save money and help the environment at the same time.
Bonus idea: stop using disposable kitchenware.
2. Conserve energy
People think that computers that are on stand-by (or in sleep mode) don’t use any electricity. They do. Turning computers off for the night saves your company energy. It might take a few moments to get the computers started in the morning, but you’ll be saving money by not paying for electricity to keep the computers on overnight or on the weekends. Even better, unplug workstations so your business isn’t drawing phantom power while no one is there.
Bonus idea: Make sure other electrical items are also shut off or unplugged when not in use. Coffee makers are frequently left on even if no one is around to use them.
3. Invest in sensors
If your business can afford it, investing in sensor-activated lights for your bathroom, kitchen or communal spaces will save energy and save your business money. Conference rooms, for example, often have lights on all the time but are frequently empty.
Bonus idea: If you can’t switch to sensors, switch to energy efficient light bulbs. It’s an easy switch that will save you money and help the environment.
4. Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
Your office must be kept clean, but that doesn’t mean you have to use toxic chemicals to do so. There are many natural cleaning products out there that aren’t expensive and still do an excellent job. Plus, they make your office smell fantastic.
Bonus idea: If you have a cleaning service, ask if they use environmentally friendly products. If they don’t, ask if they’ll use the products you provide, or switch to an environmentally friendly company.
Your company’s environmental impact can easily be reduced with a few easy steps. Not only do these steps help the environment, they often have an added bonus of saving your business money, improving employee health and impressing your customers.
These changes are also small enough that they’re sustainable. You’re not asking anyone to change ingrained habits or alter their lifestyle.
With so many potential bonuses, there’s no reason not to make some environmentally friendly changes to your business today.
Contributor: Virda Ersan MPA
Disclaimer: The Materials are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as professional advice and should not be substituted for, or replace, such professional advice.