These days everybody is talking about how to “go green.” People are retrofitting their homes to be more environmentally friendly with solar panels, eco-friendly water heaters, etc. Businesses are starting to get in on the act too. If you’re a new convert to the green movement, you’re probably having a hard time figuring out what kind of changes you can make in your own company. Here are some suggestions that should help you out:
Offer more environmentally friendly products. For example, if you are in the food business, stop using Styrofoam containers to pack your to-go orders. Use recycled paper and boxes made out of recycled cardboard to package food being taken away from the restaurant. Use only locally raised ingredients to cut down on the amount of shipping that you need to do. And, obviously, you’re going to want to use only organic ingredients in your food.
If you deal in physical products, make sure that the materials you use to make those products are environmentally friendly. Use recycled plastic whenever possible—for example, instead of using wood or metal for the benches you see in the grocery store, most of those benches are made out of recycled tires and milk jugs. Find ways to incorporate this technology into your own products and building materials.
Instead of sending your employees out of the office for lunch, why not convert some unused office space into a break room? You can put in a fridge, a microwave, etc. This will give your employees incentive to stick around instead of driving their cars (and spending a lot of money) on lunches out. If you want to help them further, you might even stock the vending machines with organic and healthy meal options. Use 1800 Vending to switch out your regular candy machine to a machine with meal and beverage options built in. This way you can help those employees who might not have brought in food of their own. Make sure to have real plates, cups, etc on hand so that people won’t be tempted to use paper or plastic.
In addition to providing means for your employees to be greener, why not retrofit your own business with more eco-friendly stuff? For example, use recycled paper for the printers and copy machines. Even better, switch to a paperless office. Supply your employees with iPads or other tablets so that they can take notes and communicate digitally all of the time. In addition to being better for the environment, this helps keep better track of all of your interoffice communications.
There are other things that you can do as well: switch out all of your incandescent and regular fluorescent light bulbs to their compact fluorescent counterparts. Use energy efficient monitors for your in-office computers. Make sure that it is easy for your employees to recycle as much of their office supplies as possible. You might even think about setting up a compost bin so that your employees have a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of lunch and snack time leftovers.
If you can afford to do more, do it! Install solar panels to help reduce your business’s energy consumption. Use hybrids for your company’s vehicles. Install low flow toilets, energy efficient water heaters, etc.
There is no limit to how green you can make your business. The suggestions here are just the beginning. There are plenty of other options that you can try. Use your imagination!
This post is by Samantha Peters, who enjoys writing about Eco-friendly businesses and sustainable business models that take into account the triple bottom line, Planet, People, and Profits. You can follow Sam on Twitter @Sam_Peters1001.
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