If you own a business, there are many things that you can do to make your business greener, even if your products aren’t necessarily eco-friendly or environmentally minded. There are lots of little, easy steps that you can take, or, if you’re feeling more motivated to lighten your carbon footprint and target the millions of green customers out there, there are bigger steps you can take to make an even greater difference.
Going green not only helps the environment, but it can also help your business. By going green, you can save money and resources through reducing your energy, water, and garbage usage. Green businesses reduce their impact on climate change, improve employee morale and create a healthy workplace. By making your business green, you can strengthen your bottom line through operating efficiencies and innovations. Finally, by going green, your business can be marketed and advertised as an eco-friendly business, which can widen your customer base and boost your revenue. There are many things you can do to make your business more eco-friendly. Here are 10 steps to greening your business.
Step 1 : Develop an environmental management plan. Going green can seem like a daunting task, especially when you look at all the options available to business owners. Write a plan that is achievable, realistic, and effective. Start with small steps, like switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, or implementing a recycling program.
Step 2 : Build green. If you remodel or plan on moving to a new building, install energy-efficient appliances and heating and air conditioning systems. Use green building materials such as bamboo floors and eco-friendly paints.
Step 3 : Buy green products. Regardless of what product or service you sell, you can still make your business green by buying green products. Green products are made from post-consumer, recycled materials, are bio-based, non-toxic, energy-efficient, renewable, recyclable, and/or local. Even if you do the smallest step of changing your cleaning supplies to green brands it makes a difference.
Step 4 : Adopt energy-efficient practices. Simple changes, such as turning some (or all) lights off during the day, or changing your thermostat a few degrees (raise it up a few degrees in the summer and down in the winter), can reduce your energy costs as well as your carbon footprint. Consider conducting an energy audit in which you can determine areas where you can save energy costs.
Step 5 : Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reducing your waste not only reduces the amount of trash that your business produces, but it can also cut costs on raw materials, such as office supplies. Switch to using post-consumer, recycled products and eliminate excessive product packaging materials. You can also participate in the EPA’s Waste Wise program.
Step 6 : Conserve water. It may sound simple, but it makes a big difference. Forgo bottled water at your business. Offer reusable cups for your employees (and your customers, if it fits). If you really want to go green, consider recapturing your gray water to water your lawn.
Step 7: prevent pollution. No matter what kind of business you have, you generate waste. Dispose of wastes properly (especially those hazardous wastes, like paints and batteries) and consider creative methods of waste disposal, like composting.
Step 8: create a green marketing strategy. If you’re going to go through the effort of making your business eco-friendly, you should also reap the benefits. By marketing yourself as a green business, you will enhance your image and gain loyal customers who stand behind green businesses.
Step 9: Join Industry Partnership and Stewardship Programs. The EPA has many programs for green businesses. These programs can enable you to network with other green business owners and build up your company to be credible with customers.
Step 10: Refer to the EPA’s “Small Business Guide to Energy Efficiency” for more information. On the EPA’s website, you can even find government incentives (money in your pocket) to make your business green.