Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital
The devastating effects of climate change have rapidly
increased in the last few years. As a result, businesses of all sizes and
across industries are taking it upon themselves to be more eco-friendly. Though most business owners recognize the
urgency to reduce their wasteful or pollutive practices, many are concerned
about the cost and complexity of implementing greener habits. Although some
large-scale changes can be expensive, investment in environmentally sound
systems absolutely pays off over time. Here are some of the ways your business
can adjust its practices to take better care of the environment.
Change Your Lightbulbs
One of the simplest things your business can do to reduce
energy use is to change your lightbulbs. Halogen incandescents, compact
fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) use 25-80% less
energy than regular incandescents and last 3-25 times longer. Some cost
slightly more initially, but more than cover their own price in longevity and
reduction in your energy bills.
Recycling your paper, plastic and metal goods is a great
start, but these days, it’s remarkably easy to find facilities that will
recycle just about everything. Specialized recycling centers nationwide allow
customers to deposit old electronics, appliances, batteries, and other items
that were once difficult or impossible to recycle. Many of these centers even
offer pick-up services for businesses that need to remove large amounts of
heavy equipment at once.
Employees Not to Drive
One of the biggest problems employees face, regardless of
location or industry, is their daily commute. Although they may be tempted to
drive, encouraging them to carpool, bike, or use public transportation can
drastically decrease your workforce’s negative impact on the environment. This
can be as simple as posting a sign-up sheet in your workplace for carpools based
on location and/or department.
If you’re located in one of the many cities that offer bike
sharing, you can offer to pay for some, or all of the cost of your employees’
bike rentals should they choose to ride to work. You can also offer employer
transportation benefits to those who use public transit. Regardless of which
method(s) you choose, offering your employees a simple, inexpensive alternative
to driving to work is a wise move.
Switch to PCW
(Post-Consumer Waste) Paper
Although the world has largely transitioned to paperless
documents, some businesses can’t avoid printing on a regular basis. If your
business requires printing, make sure to use PCW paper products and packaging
wherever possible. Although recycled paper is an improvement on new, or
“virgin” paper products, it isn’t a regulated designation. Only PCW products
are made entirely from recycled paper. They also use 45% less energy and create
half as much waste in the manufacturing process as traditional paper products.
Packaging and Single-Use Items Wherever Possible
This one can be a bit harder for
employers to accept, but things like single-use coffee pods, plastic cutlery,
water cooler jugs, and styrofoam cups make up a significant portion of the
excessive waste North America produces. As an alternative, consider regular
coffee, a water filter and reusable dishes and cutlery to keep your workplace
from producing unnecessary trash that won’t biodegrade. You’ll also save the
money you would’ve spent on refills for your water cooler, disposable dishes,
Up Your Cleaning Products
Cleaning your office with harsh
chemicals isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for your employees.
Harsh cleaning products can cause allergic reactions and other cumulatively
negative effects on your workforce’s health. Switch out your cleaning products
for their green alternatives and you’ll find your workplace a much happier,
more energetic environment with fewer sick days.
There are dozens of small changes you
can make to create an office culture that takes better care of the environment.
Business owners are too often bogged down by the idea of installing solar
panels and other environmentally sound systems that are effective, but
expensive and impractical. By implementing these small, inexpensive changes,
you can dramatically decrease your business’s carbon footprint and inspire your
employees to do the same in their private lives. A healthy planet is good for
people and businesses alike!