Approaching going green for small businesses is easier and more cost-effective than you think. Here is my recommended list of 11 easy ways your small business can go green and have a more meaningful impact, without hurting your bottom line. Some of these will also gain improved efficiency in your office.
Going green isn’t just for massive corporations. An example of how to do this for businesses that you would never consider could make a difference I’m going to share this story with you.
Working with a financial planning firm, one of the things I did was help them go green. We shifted any and all things possible to green efforts. Here are some examples of what we did and what you can do as well.
- Go paperless with all your bills. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many businesses haven’t made that shift.
- Go digital with forms. All compliance forms were being printed out, filled in and signed, then scanned into the system. The printed docs came out to a whopping 300 pages, that were then shredded. What a waste! This also improved efficiency.
- Switch to 100% recycled paper. There is no difference in quality or look but the green benefits are there.
- Switch printers to more energy-efficient printers, environmentally friendly inks, and larger capacity ink to cut down on plastic waste (and they are recyclable). The cost of a new printer is very low when you consider the energy and ink efficiency savings. The old printers can be donated or sent for recycling.
- Plastic water bottles; switch to glass and/or canned water and use a water filtration or reverse osmosis system.
- Coffee machine pods; purchase from a company that offers recycling. Many provide postage-paid packages to collect and send back.
- All cards, envelopes, and packaging used to send items out to clients and customers; switch to recycled paper and recycled or recyclable, no plastic, packing materials.
- Pens; switch to refillable ink instead of disposable.
- Use “ooops” pages from printing for scratch or notepaper instead of throwing it away.
- Letterhead; make your letterhead a digital template instead of printing on letterhead, then scanning and emailing copies, then shredding it. It’s shocking how many companies still do this.
- Digital signatures; switch external and internal docs requiring a signature to a digital format. In this day and age, “wet signatures” are rarely required. Digital signatures from every desk in your office can have their own security settings to verify/validate the signer.
A Triple-Bonus on a more meaningful impact from your business going green
Some additional ways to go green that the Covid-19 pandemic may have initiated but you can continue after the virus has been eradicated is to let those employees who can work from home, continue to work from home.
Several studies have shown that a large number of employees are not only more productive working from home, but it takes millions of cars off the roads, contributing to a vast reduction in carbon emissions. Those studies also show you’ll have happier employees.
Creative options so your small business can go green
Approaching going green can be different for every business, but every business has the ability to go green in some way. Take a look around, ask your employees or suppliers for input, ask a consultant, but by all means, take the steps to green your business. I can find green solutions in the strangest places. Just ask.
Consumers love green businesses!
Another bonus of going green is how consumers view your business practices. Well over 50% of consumers said they would choose a green business over a business that isn’t a green business. Your products and services don’t have to be green (but if they can be, do it), the fact you practice a green office environment is seen as a bonus to consumers. If not for the greater good, do it for more green in your pocket.