The Green Startup
Want to lessen the carbon footprint of your new start-up? Going green not only helps the planet, it can also save money and alter your company’s reputation – for the better – as well. You may not win any green awards, but making even the smallest changes to your practices can have a large, beneficial environmental impact. If you’re interested in taking a greener business route, here are some things you can do today:
Opt for Energy Efficiency
Everything from light bulbs to refrigerators can be bought in energy efficient form. Replace all your bulbs with LED, CFL or incandescent options. Opt for energy efficient appliances over their regular counterparts. Hang energy efficient windows in your office. Putting forth these changes will use less electricity – lowering costs and emissions.
Simple things like unplugging devices when they’re not in use can help to conserve power and lower your electric bill: Don’t leave your chargers plugged in, remove the Keurig cord from the wall, etc. Always turn out lights when you leave the room, too.
When it comes to heating and cooling the office, keep in mind all of the energy required for temperature control. Maintain and upgrade your system as needed. Keep temperatures as high and tolerable in the summer and low and tolerable in the winter; trying to maintain a cozy 72 degrees year-round will really suck up energy and, of course, cost you a pretty penny.
If your business uses water, think of ways in which you can cut down on your flow. Don’t let sinks run. Purchase a greener toilet variety to lessen the water used with each flush. These little things add up.
Recycle/Reuse When Possible
You can recycle way more than plastic bottles (which, if you’re being green, won’t be too prevalent around your office). You can recycle paper, electronics, old appliances, ink cartridges and so much more.
So, if/when you must replace items around your office, make sure to recycle – rather than simply trash – whatever you’re getting rid of. There are numerous electronic recycling centers around the country that can use the parts or refurbish the goods. This is a better alternative to something wasting away in a junkyard or landfill.
You can also take old furniture or other such goods to donation centers where they can be sold for charity. These, too, will hog up landfills if you put them out for the trash.
Use Eco-Friendly Paper
When possible, don’t use paper. Try to email materials rather than print them, and install hand dryers in bathrooms rather than paper towel dispensers. If you really put forth an effort, just thinking things through can help to limit the amount of paper your company uses.
However, printing and general paper use cannot always be avoided. In instances where you must use it, have eco-friendly paper varieties available. These options are just as sturdy and clean looking as normal varieties, but are made from recycled material rather than a new batch of trees.
Communicate Your Green Intentions
The above practices will definitely help to make your business greener, however, your impact will be greater if your employees and customers follow suit. Put flyers in the bathrooms reminding employees to wash hands but to do so conservatively, sign your emails with reminders to only print when necessary. Set up air quality monitors and let your employees know where they are so they can keep an eye out for how you’re environment is doing. Spreading your green intentions onto others will only help your overall goal to be greener.
These listed practices will get your start-up on the green tract. You can make your changes gradually or all at once, whatever suits your budget and goals. In the end, though, the earth – and your wallet – will thank you for your efforts.