Small businesses that adopt green policies and procedures can often come out ahead in two essential ways. First, they reduce their environmental impact and conserve precious natural resources. Second, they can boost their bottom line and enhance their standing among customers. Surveys of small business owners that offer green products and services show an uptick in sales and higher customer loyalty.
Although making your business greener can seem overwhelming, experts say to start small and then tackle bigger changes. Simply Green Solutions, an Ellenton, Florida-based project management services firm that helps businesses go green, offers these suggestions:
1. Use recycling bins
Put out containers for recyclable items—such as glass, paper, and aluminum—in a convenient location in your company. Post instructions on how to use them and reminders throughout the building.
2. Use eco-friendly cleaners
Harsh detergents can add potentially harmful chemicals to the water supply, as well as irritate skin, eyes, and lungs. Choose natural, non-toxic cleansers that are easy on the environment and on people. (You'll be amazed at what you can do with ordinary household items like vinegar and lemons.)
3. Turn off the power
Save electricity and cut your energy bill by shutting down your computers at the end of the day, as well as non-essential lighting, machinery, and equipment. To make the task more efficient, take an inventory of your operation, put together a checklist of everything that can be switched off, and give someone on your team the responsibility for executing it.
4. Find new life for your old equipment
The amount of e-waste—such as computers, cell phones, and monitors—is staggering. Landfills are overflowing with castoffs that can also unleash toxic elements into the environment. When you upgrade to new models, take your old equipment and donate it to a non-profit. They'll appreciate the offer and you might be eligible for a tax write-off. In instances where equipment can't be reused, give it to a reputable recycler that follows proper protocols.
5. Decorate your office with plants
We may take them for granted sometimes, but plants are one of the best ways to help your business operate efficiently and cleanly. Plants scrub the air, minimizing amounts of dust and other particulate matter. They also help to regulate indoor heat and humidity levels, and release oxygen for a healthier working situation.
Taking simple steps like these can have a measurable impact on the environment and your wallet—that’s truly going green.
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