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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Business: 12 Steps to Turning Green

While more and more businesses implement eco-friendly practices, there are many companies that feel 'going green' is too much of an expense or too difficult. As a company owner or entrepreneur, you may not want to go through massive overhauls to reduce your carbon footprint. However, there are many small steps companies can take to make a huge difference. Below are 12 simple steps any business can take to become more eco-friendly. 1. Get Rid of Paper Checks Rather than paying employees with paper checks, utilize a third party payment system such as PayPal. Recipients get paid as soon as you click 'send,' and there is no need for a printed check. Statements come right to your inbox, and records of transactions are kept so that you can keep track of incoming and outgoing payments. 2. No More Paper Literature Whether it's an office memo, a brochure for customers or a company policy - these things typically get printed on paper. Use alternative options such as sending an email, creating PDF documents or providing a link to an online copy of the company policy. 3. Stop Computer All-Nighters Have employees completely shut down computers at night before leaving the office. Many companies leave computer systems up and running, sucking electricity and wasting energy. It only takes a few seconds to get the computer started again, and the effort helps save money and conserves energy. 4. Promote Recycling Simply by placing a few large containers in a corner somewhere and clearly labeling them, offices can get started recycling. Owners might consider placing paper bins near desks while offering plastic recycling containers in the conference room or lunch room to make it even easier on employees. 5. Recycle eWaste Along with paper and plastics, companies can easily recycle electronic products to make a difference. Simply locate an eWaste recycling center in your area and organize an office recycling effort. Anything from old cell phones to printer cartridges and computer parts can be recycled this way. Visit eRecycle.org's Recycler Search to learn more. 6. Packaging Products If your company must package items for customers, do what you can to reduce waste. Use as little packaging materials as possible, and if possible, use recycled packaging. Not only will it make your company greener, but customers will notice your efforts as well and this is a great way to build a reputation for being environmentally responsible. 7. Cleaning the Office Whether the office is cleaned by a member of the staff or an outside cleaning service, request that it be cleaned with all-natural products. A vinegar and water mixture is as effective as a typical spray cleanser that is filled with chemicals and potentially dangerous ingredients. This is a positive step for the health of office employees, as well. 8. Encourage Carpooling While this choice will ultimately be up to the employees, companies can encourage carpooling to and from work, as well as to and from lunch. 9. Switch to Energy-Saving Lightbulbs It's easy and fast to switch to energy-saving lightbulbs, and while this step helps companies 'go green,' it also helps them save green. Energy-saving lightbulbs can help reduce expenses and decrease utility bills. Find out what kind of energy-saving bulbs you need! 10. Low-Flow Toilets Have low-flow toilets installed in the office bathroom(s). These kinds of toilets use a fraction of the water typically used to flush, and aren't expensive to obtain. If you don't want to shell out the price of a new toilet, place a small brick in the back of existing toilets at work to help save water. 11. Water-Saving Faucets Install water-saving faucets to cut down on the amount of water being used every time an employee makes coffee, washes their hands, etc. 12. Utilize Recycled Materials Offices can make a huge difference by utilizing recycled materials rather than purchasing new ones. This method can be used for office furniture, electronics and much more. Join your local Freecycle group, where used items of all kinds can be obtained. While these practices are small and very easy to implement, they can make a very large difference in the amount of energy and other resources used around the office. Encourage your employees to take part in a greener company today - and start by giving them a great example! Learn more about greening your business. Image Courtesy of www.pleasantrees.com

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