For small and large businesses alike, and this certainly includes freelancers and independent contractors, making your operations more sustainable has become a real priority. Luckily, “going green” doesn't need to entail any major expense. In fact, it can also actually save your small business money. After all, the whole idea is to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Many customers will reward your green efforts with increased loyalty.
There are any number of small steps any small business can take to help reduce its carbon footprint. Here are some of our simple favorites:
Change Your Light Bulbs
By simply replacing your standard bulbs with compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs (the squiggly ones), you can reduce your power bill significantly. Added bonus: The new bulbs also provide better color and flicker less.
Use Energy Star Equipment
Energy Star certification means that the appliance or product you are buying and using is green, highly energy efficient, and can save you money.
Choose An All-In-One Printer
By using an all-in-one printer that offers two-sided printing (also called duplex printing) you can easily and immediately reduce your paper consumption, and costs, in half.
Use Timers and Motion Sensors
Lights are often left on in home offices, or storage areas, or other rooms when they are not in use. By installing occupancy sensors, you will be assured that your office energy use will be efficient and not wasteful. It will save you money.
Similarly, electronic equipment like computers and monitors are usually not turned off when not in use. To remedy this, put a timer on that power strip.
Reuse and Recycle
Boxes, packaging, paper, and office folders can easily be re-used. And, if you don’t reuse them, then at least have recycling bins handy so people can recycle them.
Buy Recycled Office Supplies
Paper, pads, sticky notes, file folders, and even ink and toner cartridges can be purchased in recyclable versions, and often at the same price as similar “regular” items. Indeed, many recycled paper products are now roughly the same price as conventional paper due to increased demand and better production operations.
Use Green Power
Many local utilities offer customers renewable power from green sources such as wind farms. Often, there are local incentives for using such sustainable energy supplies, and the new stimulus law also includes federal tax incentives for alternative energy use. Similarly, there are all sorts of tax breaks for investing in green tools like solar panels.
With the plethora of apps to help us do just about every task virtually, with a little planning and forethought, our paper trail can be significantly reduced. Most companies also offer paperless billing now as well. A first step to alleviate waste could be with just a few phone calls.
As with many of these ideas, while in the short run these things may seem like an expense, over the long term, such changes don’t cost, they pay.
And by the way, plenty of consumers are making purchasing choices these days based upon how green an organization is, and this is not limited to large businesses. So be sure to make note of what you are doing, what changes you have instituted, and then get the word out via social media. Many customers will reward your efforts with increased loyalty.