Earth Day began in 1970 to raise public awareness about pollution and has since spread to become a worldwide observance. Most of us know about it, many of us use environmental practices at home, but what can small businesses, like yours, do to honor this day?
Keep it Green:
There are many ways to “green” your office environment. Here are 3 ideas beyond recycling that help improve the earth you live on and the office you work in.
- Go Paperless: Well, okay, maybe completely paperless is impossible, but digitizing the majority of your paperwork can cut down on clutter in the office and help your business run more efficiently. Keeping files digitally allows for easy access from multiple locations, and simplifies things when it’s time to upgrade offices! Think beyond the filing cabinet by going online for booking, payments and invoicing. Send emails rather than letters. Make sure when you do print out documents, you print only what you need by using the selection or custom range option.
- Power down: Many of us rely on computers as our main tool at work. Optimize the energy settings for computers and other work devices, and make sure to shut them down when leaving for the day – either powering off or sleep mode. There remain arguments on both sides of the debate on this, so pick what feels comfortable to you. Powering down can extend beyond electronics. If possible, use natural lighting during the day to illuminate your space. Replacing your light bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs will lower costs, as will installing occupancy sensors or timers so that they turn off when no one is there.
- Green-ify: Not only does an office plant make the atmosphere in your office more visually appealing, it also cleans the air! Plants increase the flow of oxygen while absorbing indoor air pollution, so get your green thumb ready. Check out this article on 20 Indoor Plants That Can Improve Your Office Environment to get started.
It’s all well and good to want to follow earth-friendly options, but the fear of added expense and effort can often deter our best intentions. Here are a few ways to alleviate the fear and jump on the benefits that are offered.
1. Tax Breaks: Yes, the government recognizes that it can be hard to change. DSIREUSA helps lay out both federal and state tax and program incentives for going green. Check out their website to find out what you can do for your world and what your country and state can do for you!
2. Check out your local office supply stores for recycling and purchasing deals. Electronics break down, ink cartridges run out and all of these items need to be taken somewhere. Best Buy and Staples both offer electronics recycling programs as well as discounts on ink purchases when you return empty printer cartridges.
3. Ride Local: Check out your local public transportation deals. The Denver ECOPASS can be purchased for employees, by employees or through employer/employee cost sharing, all pre-tax. If you are centrally located, taking parking out of the equation makes everyone happy. Support cyclists by offering a safe place to park those rides. Many city governments provide free bike racks to businesses when requested. Denver, Tucson, Sacramento, Seattle, New Haven and Portland are a few cities that offer such government subsidized racks for businesses. Google your city government today!
It’s Good Business
You’ve put in the time and energy to “green” your business, so have you considered this a selling point to your current and potential clients? Think about your marketing strategies. How can you let your client base know what you’re doing to be a responsible business owner? Check out the following links for more detailed information on how you can market and grow your “green” business!
Looking to continue or improve your business practices in 2016? Take the green challenge and practice Earth Day every day! Already started? Take a moment to share with us what your business is doing to be “green” in 2016.