It’s refreshing to see more and more businesses take steps to go green by becoming more eco-friendly. Going green isn’t only helpful for the environment, it can also be beneficial to your small business. Simple changes to your office habits can help your business go green and reduce office supply costs, qualify you for tax breaks, and make your team more conscious about environmental issues.
In honor of Earth Day, here are some ways that your small business can go green and create a sustainable workplace.
Cut Back on Paper Use
Even though we can easily get caught up in old school methods of doing things, we all know that we live in a digital world. In most cases, your computer has replaced your filing cabinets and you’re probably using email much more than snail mail. It’s really a wonderful thing.
The average office employee in the United States uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. There are several ways that you can attempt to lower your paper use:
- Set your printer to print on both sides whenever you can
- Email important documents
- Use presentations instead of hand-outs at meetings
Another way to save paper is by setting up a recycling bin next to your printer and reusing paper when you can. Sometimes when faxes come in or when websites are printed, there will be a printed page at the end that contains only a date or time stamp on the top or bottom. Rather than throwing these essentially blank pages (money) into the trash can, simply use them for another print job.
Ditch the Styrofoam
While Styrofoam is easy to throw away, it’s certainly does not biodegrade very easily. For example, did you know that Styrofoam is the main component of marine debris? Consider the potential impact on the environment the next time you’re pouring yourself a cup of coffee.
Instead of using disposable cups, invest in a travel mug or regular coffee cup that you can keep at the office. Taking a few seconds of your day to wash your coffee mug after every use is worth saving our natural resources, don’t you think? Besides, what’s a few bucks for a reusable mug once or twice a year compared to $9.99 for a pack of Styrofoam cups once every couple of weeks?
Reuse Office Equipment
Whether you’re buying a refurbished computer or a used projector and screen, you can save time, money and possibly a small piece of the planet. It isn’t unusual for small businesses to buy office equipment that has been used or refurbished. You can also think about the materials that were purchased for an employee that is no longer with the company. What was left behind that can used by someone else? If you look in the supply closet before looking in the equipment catalog, you might be able to save yourself some additional time and money while reducing waste.
You would rather spend money on a new desktop than get your old one fixed? There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes people like the excitement about buying new things. If your old computer is still somewhat functional, consider donating it. Someone somewhere will be able to find good use of it. Whether they are able to fix it or they disassemble it for the parts, it’s better than sending it to the dump. If you take your business’s electronics and other equipment to organizations like Goodwill, you might even be able to get a small tax break for your business the following year.
Don’t Forget to Switch the Lights Off
Did you know that you could reduce energy consumption from your computer and monitor by about 70% simply by turning them off when you leave work? Turning off all the lights when you leave work each day or even turning off the lights in your conference room once you’re done with your meeting is an easy way to reduce the amount of energy your small business consumes. And using the most energy-efficient bulbs is another easy way to go green while lowering your utility bill.
The benefits of getting your business to go green are clear. Not only are you saving your business some money, you’re contributing to a healthier environment by being more eco-friendly. And since it is Earth Day, now is the perfect time for your business and its employees to go green.