Like many business owners, you might avoid initiating eco-friendly practices because it seems so time-consuming. You're booked solid from the moment you wake up until your head finally finds the pillow again. What you might not realize, however, is that there are things you can do today to make your business more eco-friendly.
1. Establish Recycling Centers in the Office
All it takes is a few small trash cans scattered throughout your office. Label each one with the word "Recycling" so there's no confusion as to what each receptacle is for. Prime locations for in-office recycling centers include:
- Kitchens and break rooms
- Copy and supply rooms
- Entrances and exits
- Conference rooms and lobbies
For convenience, make sure each recycling bin is placed near a regular trash receptacle. This eliminates any extra steps staff members might need to take to recycle items rather than trash them.
To ensure employees know the rules about recycling, pass out a flyer that describes what qualifies as a recyclable. You'll be less likely to find uneaten food and expended light bulbs in your bins.
2. Recycle Electronics During Upgrades
Your business needs to keep up with the technological times, but your software and hardware upgrades don't have to result in landfill fodder. Instead, recycle electronics so the components can be put to good use.
Computer recycling and cell phone recycling are two of the main programs in which your business should participate. When you upgrade your employees' phones to the latest model or scrap old computers, send them to a recycling center, such as STS Electronic Recycling Inc.
3. Allow Employees to Work from Home
Nearly 10% of all American wage-earners work from home at least one day every week. As an employer, you can continue this trend by allowing employees to work remotely on a full-time or part-time basis.
When your employees work in their bathrobes and slippers, they don't use fuel to get to work. They also won't use electricity, water, or other resources at the office, so your business becomes more eco-friendly.
4. Communicate Electronically
E-mail and text messaging are just two examples of electronic communications that are faster, simpler, and more environmentally friendly than pen-and-paper solutions. New methods of electronic communication emerge every day, such as:
- Electronic business cards
- Digital coupons
- Online publications (such as employee memos or company newsletters)
Develop the habit of looking for an electronic solution to a problem before firing up the printer. More often than not, you don't have to waste paper or ink to send a quick message or publish a large document.
5. Pull the Plug
Post notices around the office that encourage employees to unplug during office hours. When your cell phone is glued to your ear, for example, the charger doesn't need to be plugged into the wall.
The same goes for computers, coffee makers, and other devices you use on a regular basis. Electronics often encourage eco-friendliness, especially when they are used in place of resources like paper, but they can also drain power and increase your business's carbon footprint when used irresponsibly.
6. Plant Trees
The inside of your business is a good place to start, but don't neglect the building's exterior when it comes to environmental awareness. Planting just a few more trees around your building improves air quality and increases the appeal of your green spaces.
Trees aren't the only greenery that add curb appeal to a corporate structure. Flowers, shrubs, succulents, and other plants make the property more healthy and green.
From computer recycling to telecommuting, making your business more eco-friendly doesn't have to be an arduous, year-long project. Start with a few of these simple strategies today, then add more as they become feasible.