How Can I Make My Business More Environmentally Friendly?

Climate change is quickly becoming a major issue. While it has long been a problem, we are starting to see the direct results of global warming. Each year is hotter than the last, we are losing wildlife, and many of the natural resources we need to survive are depleting faster than we can replenish them.

There is, unfortunately, no simple answer to this issue. There are many factors that impact the progression of climate change, meaning we can’t rely on a simple trick coming in at the last minute to save us.

Instead, we need to focus on doing everything we can across the board to slow climate change. With businesses being one of the biggest contributing factors in the current climate crisis, many business owners are curious how they can transition to more environmentally-friendly operations.

This article explores a few simple ways businesses can become greener and decrease their impact on the environment.

ways businesses can become greener

Consider Your Sourcing

One of the easiest ways a business can reduce its impact on the environment is to find green materials and manufacturers.

Many businesses rely heavily on materials that harm the environment. Plastic is a fantastic example. Plastic is made of petroleum, meaning that it is non-renewable. This alone makes it a bad choice for the environment. Compounding the problem, plastic doesn’t degrade. It lasts for an extremely long time.

This means we have to dispose of it by throwing it in landfills or the ocean. Once there, the plastic can cause further harm, trapping and killing wildlife or winding up in the food we eat and the water we drink.

Businesses that find more environmentally-friendly alternatives can radically reduce their impact on the environment.

This isn’t always viable though. Sometimes plastics and other somewhat harmful materials are crucial to producing a product.

In these cases, businesses should instead look to find the most responsibly-produced version of the material available. For instance, a business might source their plastic from recycling plants, allowing them to reduce the impact they have by using the material.

There’s also the manufacturing itself to consider. Choosing a factory or plant that runs on solar or another renewable energy reduces the net impact of your business operations on the environment.

Finally, there’s the shipping and distribution. Ordering more materials at once can help reduce the amount of fuel used for transportation. You can also find shipping services that emphasize environmentally-friendly practices.

All of these things can make your production process easier on the earth.

Work Remotely

We live in the age of the digital entrepreneur. People can now start and run a business entirely from the comfort of their own homes.

Not only does this have many monetary and lifestyle benefits, but it’s also an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of your business.

Environmental Effects of Remote Work

Avoiding an unnecessary office rental means less electricity is used each day. The lights in your home office aren’t going to draw nearly the same energy as the lights in a commercial space.

Additionally, working from home lets you avoid commutes, keeping you from burning fuel when you drive to work.

Create Green Alternatives

Finally, business owners can make their businesses greener by creating green alternatives to existing products. There is growing demand for environmentally-friendly products. Unfortunately, there aren’t always green options on the market.

ecofriendly home

As a business owner, you are directly in control of your business offerings. You have the power to invest in developing green products.

Doing this can make your business better for the environment while also opening new market opportunities for you. It’s a true win-win situation.

How to Incorporate Sustainability into Your Business?

Since catapulting to the frontlines of news headlines and global consciousness, climate change is one of the most talked about and concerning topics of the modern age. Fortunately with this shift in cognition, manufacturers all across the globe have banded together to create green products in hopes of a more eco-friendly future. It’s these very products that can transform any business from a wasteful guzzler to a green success. With this guide, we’ll walk you through how you can incorporate sustainability into your daily business practice.

1. LED bulbs

Switch out the incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs for a longer-lasting and more energy-efficient brilliance. Compact-fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs tend to carry higher price tags than the average fluorescent bulb, however they offer a far more attractive projected lifespan than typical fluorescent bulbs which tend to offer 1,200 hours of  light.

LED bulbs, on average, cost around $5 and offer 25,000 hours of light, while CFL light bulbs cost about $2 and offer 10,000 hours of projected lifespan. Not only are CFL and LED lights more practical from a sustainability standpoint, but they will also save you thousands on your business’s electric bill.

2. Biodegradable Kitchen Supplies

Using biodegradable kitchen supplies to save on plastic waste. Unless your office is the type of place where employees keep personal dishes in the kitchen cupboard, you will likely need to keep a stash of utensils, cups, and plates on deck for any catered lunches or work parties.

Instead of giving into the cheap prices of eco-unfriendly plastic ware, invest in biodegradable kitchen packaging for a greener feast. With fewer resource requirements, these biodegradable forks, spoons, and knives will leave your business with a reduced carbon footprint.

Green SMEs

3. Ink cartridge recycling

Recycling ink cartridges is a great practice to put in place for businesses equipped with a number of printers. Believe it or not, the vast majority of discarded ink cartridges end up in harmful, toxic landfills that eventually end up in our oceans. Ink cartridge recycling is the most eco-friendly solution to this preventable problem. There are a number of simple ways to take those empty cartridges off your hands and into the hands of a trusted recycler:

  • Find a local recycling facility: You may not even know where your local recycle center is located. Luckily Earth911 can guide you to the nearest location for easy cartridge recycling.
  • Find a local office supply store: Did you know most office supply stores offer recycle programs? Check online or call in to see if they accept ink cartridges.
  • Consider refilling original cartridges: Do a bit of research on the brand of your empty ink cartridge. You may find that they are able to refill your cartridge and you won’t ever have to worry about tossing them!

4. Opening windows

Opening up windows is an easy solution to a stuffy, warm office. When people are packed like sardines into their tiny cubicles, the air can quickly become stale and stifling. Instead of wasting money and energy on air conditioning, open a few windows to let fresh air flow in.

Air conditioners put hydrofluorocarbons, a type of greenhouse gas emission, into the environment—so while you may feel refreshed, the earth is further harmed. Reduce your business’ contribution by saving the AC for the more-unbearable summer days.

5. Adopt renewable energy

Invest in renewable energy sources for a long-term, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly power solution. Every year, we see more and more solar panels sitting atop rooftops, which means the time to invest in solar panels is now. By converting sunlight into a sustainable power source, solar panels are the greenest source of energy on the planet today. Solar energy can be used heat buildings and provide energy to power lights on.

what-is-community-solar

6. Make use of post-consumer waste

Turning to post-consumer waste (PCW) to escape the cycle of high-volume paper waste is an exceptional solution for any company that uses a lot of paper. PCW paper is paper re-made at recycling facilities. According to the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator, PCW paper saves on

  • 5,610 gallons of water
  • 5,000,000 BTU of energy
  • 376 pounds of solid waste
  • 1,035 pounds of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions

Bottom Line

In 2021, there are no more excuses for why a business is stuck in the past. The future can be a bright one if we all put our best foot forward and make the effort to make our spaces greener!