December 29

How to make your business more eco friendly

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make your business more eco friendlyWhether you’re a mother working from home, or the CEO of a budding venture, you know how important it is for a business to become more environmentally friendly. Consumers are no longer looking for solutions to just their problems, but are looking for products and services that can offer them what they want without compromising on others around them, including the environment.

Making your business sustainable does not have to be costly. In fact, not only does it help save money in the long run, but also differentiates you from the competition, helping you bring in more customers. Whether you’re just starting out or an established business, going environmentally friendly has never been easier. Here are the top 10 tips on how to make your business more eco friendly.

 

Recycle paper

Unarguably the simplest way to greener operations is recycling. Whether you are at home or running a business, recycling items, not just paper, should be your number one priority. I’ve specifically said paper here because the paper is the single most used item in any industry. Even if your business is completely online, there will still be some resources that utilize paper for operation. In fact, even the toilet in your office uses paper (I wouldn’t like to imagine an office without a single toilet!).

Although you can’t technically recycle toilet paper, you can get the eco-friendly versions of toilet paper which are readily available in the market and often at discounts (If you have no clue of what those are, check out my post where I explain what exactly is eco friendly toilet paper in very simple terms). The rest of the types of paper, such as discarded prints, cardboard boxes, or even packaging, can be easily recycled into several other useful forms, maybe even more toilet paper!

 

Revise your brand ethics

Let’s face it, recycling paper may make your business more eco friendly, but that won’t increase your customer base. Customers won’t know if you are using sustainable practices unless you tell them that, and with the amount of information available to everyone via the internet, spreading out the word has become easier than ever before.

Customers nowadays are on the lookout for the ethics and values that a brand holds before making a purchase. This could be a good opportunity for you to show that your company is also truly environmentally friendly by integrating environmental sustainability into your mission statement, or better yet, show them how your company is contributing to a greener environment through pictures or even a video on your website. You would be amazed by how a single video on your website can rapidly increase your following and potentially your customer base.

 

Switch to eco friendly website hosting

Following up from the previous tip, whether you’re a humble blogger at their beginnings like me, or the owner of a multinational corporation, having an online presence is now essential for reaching your customers in the most cost-effective way. Over 54,000 websites are created every single day, and whenever someone purchases a plan for online website hosting, they are allocated some space in one of the millions of servers across the globe.

These servers are often located in large warehouses full of air conditioners, sucking up huge amounts of electricity and releasing tons of heat into the atmosphere every single day. Without really knowing, you’re actually paying money to harm the environment! Thankfully, several hosting companies have taken this seriously and offer green web hosting instead by either using renewable energy sources to power their data centers or partnering with several foundations working for the eco friendly cause (or both!).

I personally use GreenGeeks for hosting my website; they offer tons of space, great support, and contribute heavily towards environmental sustainability. You can check out my post on how to get started with green web hosting which explains everything step-by-step (with pictures! ^_^), or if you’d like to see other options, check out my comparison of the top 5 eco friendly web hosting providers.

 

Reduce unnecessary packaging

We’ve all been there, the product being shipped is too small to fit in any of the pre-bought packages so we stuff it with more bubble wrap than we can count to make it work. In turn, not only did we waste a larger box, but somehow we were also able to increase the cost of packaging by adding more bubble wrap!

Yes, sometimes the items are very delicate and we need to add that extra bit of cushioning to prevent breakage, but we all know that in many cases we just don’t want to let a larger box go to waste, so we add more wrap to it (which is made of plastic by the way!).

Instead of adding unnecessary bubble wrap, why not create an effective policy for the procurement of packaging materials? A good example could be a “Just-in-time” approach where you would only buy packaging if it falls below a certain level in the inventory. This way, you can customize the packaging based on your products and never have to worry about having too many unused boxes. It would save costs and prevent the usage of unnecessary materials (especially plastic).

 

Utilize as much digital as possible

Although you can never remove the use of paper from your business, bringing it to a bare minimum can surely help make your business more eco friendly. Agreed, not everything can be brought online, but technology today has made it so much easier to switch to a more efficient way of business operations.

A good example of this could be the attendance system. Many small businesses may have a small register to keep track of the in and out times of their employees. Not only is this wasting paper, but can potentially be very time-consuming, especially when coming closer to pay day!

Instead of spending several dollars and time on paper registers, why not invest the same money in an online time-tracking software. They are surprisingly cheap and can handle almost all operations related to attendance such as keeping track of time, generating reports, calculating leaves, and much more, so you never have to worry about wasting time and energy in doing it yourself. And the best part, it’s all online so you can access it wherever you want.

 

Save water

Just like recycling paper, this is an absolute no-brainer. Water is by far one of the most important resources on this planet, and the amount of usable water today is growing scarce by the second. With every leaking faucet, there is a potential for hundreds if not thousands of liters wasted every single year, not to mention the increased cost. If you’re a restaurant, having your plumbing in check is one of the most critical things to make your business more eco-friendly. Not only does it save potentially hundreds of liters every day, but it also puts up a good impression in front of customers who witness proper management of water first hand.

Saving water is not just limited to companies. Even if you’re an individual, saving water is one of the easiest and most effective ways to become more environmentally friendly. To have your building checked for any water leakages, you might need to hire a professional such as a plumber who would be able to accurately assess the damage (if any). A one-time investment could save you thousands of dollars in the future.

 

Use organic, biodegradable cleaning products

modern eco friendly inventionsHygiene is a critical factor in any business operations, and keeping a clean environment can have a major impact on the performance of your employees as a whole. However, many of us don’t realize that the industrial-grade cleaners that we often use to clean our offices aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. In fact, there may be several toxins hidden in your average cleaner such as Butoxyethanol, Ammonia, and Triclosan, all of which can pose a serious threat to the health of your employees if not cleaned properly.

Almost all of these chemicals also get washed away during cleaning, meaning if left untreated, they are almost certainly going to be drained into the ocean. Excess amounts of ammonia in water can alter the pH level, causing marine life to suffer and die. Not only that, but Ammonia can also render the water unusable by humans and animals. There are many cleaning products that are biodegradable thereby being less harmful for the environment. However, to truly be environmentally friendly, you should always try to opt for organic, biodegradable cleaning products.

eco friendly house cleaning productsOrganic products are free from harmful chemicals that may otherwise get washed away and being biodegradable, they have a much lower carbon footprint when disposed of properly. A win for both the atmosphere and the marine life! There are several great biodegradable cleaning products available in the market and online, but if you’d like to save time in finding the best one for your needs, here is a detailed list of the top eco friendly cleaning products available on Amazon.

 

Install energy-saving bulbs

Priced slightly higher than your average incandescent bulbs, installing energy-saving replacements such as LED’s or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) may seem like a step in the backward direction, but when you’re running a business, you never think of the short term. An average LED bulb can last several times longer than your traditional incandescent bulb, and at the same time bring a noticeable dip in your electricity bill. In fact, a single LED bulb can save hundreds of dollars in its lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb.

A drastically low amount of energy consumption is what makes LED bulbs preferable as an environmentally friendly alternative. One LED bulb consumes roughly about 8 Watts, as compared to 60 Watts for an incandescent bulb. However, if you want to find a cheaper alternative, you can also choose the CFL bulbs. These also offer much lower power consumption (about 14 Watts) and at a significantly lower price than your LED bulbs. CFLs and LEDs are also known to be less harsh to the eye compared to the standard incandescent bulb, thereby helping improve the employee’s visibility and productivity. If you want to make your business more eco friendly and boost employee productivity at the same time, this is the way to go.

 

Promote public transportation throughout the company

One cost-effective way to become more environmentally friendly is to promote public transportation or the use of zero-emission vehicles (such as bikes) throughout the company. As strange as it may sound, several countries actively promote an environment-friendly corporate culture in all (or most) of their companies; one of the primary factors helping them host some of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world.

Having a company culture that promotes public transportation not only improves the image of the company among the employees but also builds reputation among audiences outside the organization. As the company gains respect from promoting an environment-friendly company culture, it also potentially gains new customers with the increased publicity of your brand.

 

Sell what you no longer use

Finally, a great way to make your business eco friendly, as well as earning some extra money from your resources, is to sell your used resources that you no longer need. An example is the office furniture that you plan to replace. Instead of discarding the old furniture, you could add it to an online listing for a fraction of the price.

There are literally thousands of buyers who are looking for clean, slightly used products at low prices, and given the right amount, you could salvage some extra cash for the company. At the same time, the furniture can now be used by someone else for their own purpose, instead of being wasted in a landfill somewhere outside the city. You’re saving some money as well as helping the environment by promoting the reusability of products.


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