Running a small business is tough! Make it easier on yourself and the planet by ramping up your business's sustainability efforts. It might seem tedious at first, but soon it will become second nature to you and your employees. In the long run, it will be worth it for your facilities (and your pocketbook!) Since we just celebrated Earth Day, there is no better time than now to get started.
Here are six ways a small business can minimize it’s environmental impact:
1. Talk about it!
The easiest and most effective way to begin your sustainability journey is to talk about it! Call a meeting of all employees and ask what they would like to see in terms of sustainability efforts. Then sketch out a rough plan of how you will achieve these goals, who you need to contact, and what the next step might be. Communicate with your employees the sustainability progress you’ve been making or lack thereof. Let them know that you’re open for suggestions, the more it’s on their minds the more motivation your company will have!
2. Realize how much you're using.
How often do you leave the lights on when no one’s in the room or keep the heat cranked with the windows open? More often than anyone would like to admit! Using excessive energy is habitual for any business, large or small. The first step is realizing how much you’re using. No need for specific numerical calculations (unless you're into that), just take a mental note every time you notice a computer left on overnight or the overhead lights never turning off. Once you notice wasted energy you’ll jump on the opportunity to make a change.
3. Ramp up your facility's energy efficiency.
Are you seriously still using incandescent light bulbs? Time to phase those out. Creating a sustainable building does take some time, so start small. Start by switching out the light bulbs and unplugging any appliances or items that rarely get used. Maintain a constant temperature inside your building, year round. Take the next steps by beginning to incorporate low flow toilets and automatic sinks in your restrooms. It might seem tedious and expensive at first but a sustainable investment always pays off! You’ll be saving water, energy and electricity all while cutting daily operating costs.
4. Ignite a recycling program.
With modern mixed-recycling programs, more and more items can be recycled. Those beloved single serving coffee cups? Yep, they can be sent back to the supplier where they recycle the plastic and compost the grounds. Another example is printer ink cartridges. HP Ink allows you to send your spent cartridge back to the company, shipping included! Set up a mixed recycling program in the office for all the basics (plastics, cardboard, metal, and paper). We promise you’ll notice the difference when you take out the trash. Look into commercial or curbside recycling pick up, you’ll be happy you did!
5. Eliminate easy waste.
Stop buying plastic cups and flatware! Purchase (bonus points if you thrift) a reusable set of silverware, plates, and cups for the office. While you’re at it, avoid paper napkins too. Once the option of disposable products disappears, your employees will move on too. Not only will this save you some major money but you will be tossing less and less into the landfill. You’ll be surprised with your lack of dependability on disposable products.
6. Conduct business with local organizations and businesses.
Support your community, support the planet! Buying local is one of the best ways to cut down on your environmental impact. Working with other business and organizations in the surrounding creates the opportunity to build a prosperous relationship. Buying from your neighbors is a great way to make a valuable connection, cut down on costs, and make a lasting sustainable impression. Oh did we mention increasing your business as well?