20 Green Tips for Small Business

Searching for ways to make your small business more eco-friendly?  From buying used furniture to recycling ink cartridges, from using coffee grounds as compost to providing pdf brochures.  Find out what small steps you can take to green your small business.

1. Limit Long Distance In-Person Meetings

Schedule long distance in-person meetings once a month or less.  Handling all other meetings electronically, via conference call, skype, video conference or just over email will save you money on travel costs, reduce your carbon footprint and make you more time efficient.

2. Print Smaller Business Cards

By printing smaller business cards you not only save money by creating more cards out of the same sheet but you will also stand out from the crowd when distributing them.

3. Purchase Reconditioned Office Furniture

Purchase used and reconditioned office furniture or store fixtures through local firms and donate the furnishings you don’t need when you remodel.

4. Order Software Online

Many software companies are following the same route as Microsoft and Adobe – allowing you to purchase your programs online.  This not only saves you time of ordering it or going to the shops but also saves the environment by not using wasteful CD’s and their packaging.

5. Turn Off Your Electrical Equipment

Turn off all electrical equipment and lights each night or if they are not in use, like when you leave the office for a meeting.

6. Try an Efax Service

If you still need a fax, why not try an efax service and retire the old paper machine.  You will save money with no more toner, power, paper and maintenance and you will only need to print the ones you need, if any.

7. Double Print

Print on both sides of the paper.  Whether you double sided print, or print once and reuse the other side; you will halve your paper usage.

8. Limit Air Conditioning

Open the windows during the day wherever possible and turn the air conditioning off.  Ensure that the air conditioning is not left on over night or at weekends.

9. Hot Water on Demand

Install hot water on demand and eliminate the need to constantly heat the water tank.

10. Eliminate Bottled Water

Install a drinking water filtration system to reduce the number of plastic bottles.

11. Use Coffee Grounds for Compost

Coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer. Take turns to take the coffee grounds from your office coffee maker home and fertilize your garden or add to the compost heap.

12. Donate Old Cell Phones

Use a company like Call2Recycle to pick up old rechargeable batteries and old cell phones for recycling.

13. Exchange Electronic Goods

Use the British Columbia Electronics Materials Exchange to sell or trade electronic goods.  It’s like an online garage sale where you can donate, sell or trade your old goods.

14. Donate Used Magazines

Have a pile of magazines in your waiting area or in your staff room? Pass them on, don’t bin them.  Donate them to local hospitals, hospices or charities that can use the magazines again and again.

15. Don’t Throw Away Used Ink Cartridges

Most suppliers and manufacturers of ink cartridges have a recycle program, many with a rebate or incentive against your next purchase.

16. Shredded Paper for Packaging

Sending products to clients? Shred used envelopes, junk mail, unwanted documents and use as packaging when sending out your products.

17. Provide PDF Brochures

Reduce printing costs and paper usage by distributing all brochures, estimates and quotes electronically.  Brochures are often browsed and then discarded; by providing electronic copies you will reduce waste and reduce your overheads.  It will also allow you to send a copy to a client with just a click of a button, no matter where you are.

18. Store Meeting Handouts on a USB

Going to a meeting or a conference where you want to provide multiple documents to your clients?  Put all the documents on a USB for the client – they are then able to choose whether to print out individual documents or not, and the portable device is reusable once your documents have been used.

19. Tradeshow Banners

Buy promotional banners which are made of recycled plastic bottles or bamboo with recycled aluminum frames and water passed ink.

20. Finally… Collect Data on your Usage Amounts

Take an accurate reading of how much energy, paper, water and products such as toner you use and use this as a base line.  This will mean when you implement a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign you will have something to measure all your efforts against.