where that meant spring cleaning, you’ve probably already initiated some kind of spring cleaning process in your small business. This spring, there’s a lot to do in addition to sprucing up your office space. You might want to dust off your business plan to make sure you’re still on track, reevaluate your insurance needs and analyze your expenses. And in honor of the 44th anniversary of Earth Day (today!), you may want to incorporate some greening of your business.
Here are some green facts to consider:
- About 864,883 people rode a bicycle to work in 2012. This equals about 0.6 percent of the American work force. Approximately 3,969,058 people (or about 2.8 percent of the American work force walked to work in 2012. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day; that’s about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Although the EPA estimates that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled. (GreenWaste)
- 12,000 computers are discarded every day in the U.S. alone. That’s 41.1 million desktops and laptop computers per year. (Electronics Takeback Coalition)
How can your business be a better partner to the environment? Here are 10 easy ways to be greener:
- Sell and encourage customers to use reusable bags. Print your name and logo on the bag and you’ve created a great marketing tool. Then offer small discounts to customers who bring and use the bags in your store. You can also use the bags as giveaways at local events.
- Buy and use green office products in your business. Everything from staple-less staplers and environmentally safe correction fluid is available online. Think less landfill.
- Encourage your employees to carpool or leave the car at home and walk, bike or take the train to work. You’ll need to set the example, of course. Offer incentives such as green points that can be redeemed for perks such as time off. Then implement one or two telecommuting days, so employees don’t have to get on the road at all.
- Do you really need a hard copy of that email? Probably not. Just make sure your computer files are regularly backed up and you can save almost everything electronically, rather than in hard copy. If you must print, buy and use recycled paper. Also, print on both sides of the paper and set your printer to an eco-mode if it has one.
- Turn off your computer when you’re not using it. Also, replace any Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors with flat screen monitors. Flat-screen displays consume only about one-third the energy of a CRT monitor. Of course, you are using Energy Star compliant computers, monitors and printers, right?
- Turn off lights when rooms are not in use, replace all light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and paint your office walls with high gloss and lighter colors to reflect more natural light.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Replace paper towels in bathrooms with air hand dryers.
- Have employees use mugs instead of paper or Styrofoam for coffee and water.
- Set up a green suggestion box and get ideas from employees. The more you get them involved in the effort, the more they’ll feel a sense of community.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.