Tips for Going Green in a Small Business
The idea of green technology isn’t new. Any business that recycles used paper or employs smart energy practices is using green tech. However, going green in a small business means going beyond the basics to implement practices that the entire company can use to cut down on waste and help the environment.
The most obvious way to go green is to start a recycling program. Businesses can go through paper, ink cartridges and other throwaway items at an alarming rate. Instead of cluttering up landfills with daily office garbage, place recycling bins around the building and encourage employees to use them. When purchasing necessities for the office, seek out items that are made using recycled materials. Be sure to recycle old electronics during technology upgrades so that old equipment can have a new life.
Whenever possible, avoid using paper within the office. Communications between supervisors and employees can all be done via e-mail. Memos and announcements can be sent the same way. At meetings, it isn’t necessary to offer printed versions of slides used in presentations or to hand out packets of information. If notes of some kind are needed, consider e-mailing the notes before or after the meeting. If employees use laptops, encourage them to bring their device to take notes.
Printing can’t be avoided entirely, but when it has to be done, businesses should make a conscious effort to use as little paper and ink as possible. Printing on both sides of the paper and using scrap paper for drafts minimizes paper usage while recycling used pages ensures that nothing goes to waste. Printing in black and white when color isn’t necessary and setting printers to draft mode for large print jobs helps to conserve ink.
Reduce Energy Use-
It’s easy to cut down on everyday energy use from lighting and electronics simply by turning things off and unplugging them when not in use. Computers and peripherals should all be shut down at the end of the day, and employees should be encouraged to turn off the lights in any room they’re not using. Investing in ENERGY STAR rated electronics cuts down on energy consumption when things are up and running, and changing to eco-friendly LED lighting reduces electricity usage as well.
Energy and resources don’t just get used at the office. Depending on the type of business, travel can represent a large amount of energy consumption. Employees driving to work from distant towns, leaving the office to meet clients and traveling for business use fuel and put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with every trip. If there are employees who can telecommute, consider allowing them to do so. Cut down on business-related travel by meeting with clients via phone or video conferencing whenever possible.
Businesses that employ green technology can see a drop in expenses and a boost in customer relations. Going green cuts down on waste and shows the public that a business cares about the health of the environment. It’s never too late to start implementing green practices and start reaping the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling.