Small GREEN Business Changes That Make a Huge Difference

Thu, Mar 22, 2012

6. Misc.

As more people are becoming environmentally-aware, more are being conscious about what they can do, both at work and in the home, to create more of an eco-friendly atmosphere.

When it comes to the office, you may think that your options are limited, but the truth is there are a ton of small “green” business changes that you can make that, in the long run, will make a huge difference for the environment and the economy.

Here are some options that you can start implementing as soon as today:

Put some recycle bins in the break room. Whether it’s a couple of big, used cardboard boxes (a great way to recycle) or some trash cans that you purchased at Wal-Mart, Target or even the Dollar General Store, by writing “paper”, “plastic” and “compost” on a piece of paper and taping it to the box or can, you have instantly created a recycle center for your office.

Print. Differently. Thanks to the power of online communication, it’s not as necessary as it used to be to make lots of print offs. You can email replies and even send virtual faxes both locally and abroad. But in the times when you need to use your copier, make a concerted effort to use recycled paper, to print both on both the front and the back of it and to get recycled printer cartridges. (Also, many local drug stores like Walgreens will refill your print cartridges for under $15).

Use as little electricity as possible. Did you know that laptops use under 60 watts of power, while desktops can use as much as 60-200 watts? If you don’t already have a company laptop, that’s a great sales pitch that you can make to your human resources department. Other ways to save on electricity is to opt for natural lighting during the day by opening up your shades or blinds, opening your window during spring and early summer months for fresh air over air-conditioning and unplugging items at the end of the day that will not be in use until you return the following morning.

Rethink plastic. Just the amount of plastic that is used with water bottles and laminated papers would probably shocks a lot of us. In order to cut the plastic usage down in your office considerably, encourage everyone to bring their own water bottle, glass or mug and put water filters on all of the office faucets. Instead of purchasing plastic utensil wear for the break room or kitchen, BioSelect.com, Bangalla.com and TheUltimateGreenStore.com are all websites that feature (and sell) biodegradable utensils. When it comes to laminating staff materials or reports, why not use vinyl instead? Reportedly, vinyl takes less energy to make and requires fewer natural resources as well. GetBound.com is one website that provides this as an option. When it comes to other office supply products, eco-friendly websites like, DolphinBlue.com and GoGreen.com have all kinds of recyclable office supplies. Did you know there is even a staple-less stapler that you can buy? GreenHome.com has one that actually takes pieces paper, rather than using metal, and automatically stitches two pieces of paper together. That definitely puts a new spin on “click here” in getting reports together for presentations.

Use the Web even more. This is a tip that can apply to your company as well as your clients. In exchanging photos, encourage that PDF files be exchanged over email. To save when it comes to paper usage, be open to downsizing. For example, if you’re creating flyers or brochures, there’s a great chance that what was said on an 8X10 piece of paper, with a little bit of creativity, can be conveyed in a 5X7.When using very large files, why not set up a YouSendIt.com account rather than saving it to a disk? And when running promotional campaigns, try doing them on the Internet rather than printing off copies and passing them out. This not only saves in paper and ink, but in time. It’s a lot quicker to just hit “resend” or copy and paste a link than to have to print multiple copies of things (that will probably just be thrown in the trash in minutes anyway) over and over again!

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