When it comes to running a company, there’s a plethora of business practices to take into consideration- helping employees balance work and life, making enough profit to stay open and keep the stockholders happy, adhering to local and state ordnances, and countless other factors. However, the one factor that is skyrocketing to the top of many companies’ to-do list in recent years is sustainability, or their ability to do business in an environmentally-friendly fashion.
So, with that in mind, we’d like to present to you our list of the top eco-friendly business practices for 2016 and beyond, in an effort to educate prospective entrepreneurs or seasoned corporations alike in the benefits of “going green” in an effort to help save our planet while maintaining their profit margins as well.
- Using Less Paper by Printing Less
Paper makes up about 35% of our waste stream – even though it’s one of the easiest materials to re-use and recycle. You can help reduce this waste by using as little paper as possible, and being smart about the paper you do use. When you do need to print important documents, make sure you use a recycled paper, and set your printer or copier to print on both sides of the page.
- Pull the Plug
Turn off everything you possibly can before you leave the office each day, including your computer, printer, external hard drive, and other office gadgets. It helps if you plug everything into one power strip…they all you have to do is simply turn it off when you leave for the day. Also, make sure you stock your office with energy-saving appliances and compact florescent light bulbs.
- Get Wise About Waste
Place paper recycling bins in convenient locations all over the office, such as next to copiers and mail boxes. Keep clearly labeled bins in several central locations such as break rooms. Everywhere there is a trash can, there should be a recycling bin.
- Work With Like-Minded Companies
Network with other businesses in your area that are also going green and use their services when you need them. Also, seek out green vendors for your business needs, whether it be printing business cards, hosting your web site, or cleaning your office building.
- Create a Company Electronics Recycling Program
In addition to recycling the usual paper, cans, and bottles in the office, don’t forget about the “e-waste” that is so essential to businesses and so toxic to the environment. When old electronic equipment finally bites the dust, don’t just toss it; instead, make it company policy to recycle everything you can. Many computer manufacturers offer take-back programs for old computers, so make use of them.
- Slow the Flow of Junk Mail
Just when the plague of unwanted junk mail seems to never end, there comes the good news that there is indeed something you can do about it. There are free services out there that will remove you from mailing lists, and you can also remove your name from the Direct Marketing Association’s member prospect list, cutting off that flow of pesky junk mail right at the very source.
- Build a Green Office from the Foundation Up
If you’re able to afford to remodel your entire office, be sure to “go green” while doing so; use eco-friendly flooring options made from renewable or recycled materials, sustainable fabrics made from hemp or bamboo for window coverings.
- Get Educated!
There is always more you can do to make your business more sustainable. And the only way to make progress is to know where you’re headed. Keep up with environmental news and green business trends to identify areas you can improve on. Make your own checklist of green business practices to implement and set deadlines for crossing them off your list. Share green news and tips with your co-workers, employees, and clients. Making yourself an “expert” on sustainability will not only build your green brand, but it will earn respect from potential clients, customers, and your peers.
As you can see, these are just a few of the many, many eco-friendly business practices out there that can give your business a sustainable and “green” edge in the marketplace while also helping you to cut costs and reduce waste. It’s a more efficient business model and one that also benefits that Earth as well as your bottom line, making adhering to it a win-win situation for everyone involved.