Many business owners would love to go green but feel that being environmentally conscious costs a lot more than they can afford. Fortunately, there are many low-cost ways that business owners can make their brand more green. In addition, marketing themselves as green businesses can help attract customers and increase profits, which will eventually allow businesses to buy solar paneling and other high-end equipment to help save the environment.
Approach Your Office Space Consciously
Set up your office space so that it contributes to the environment instead of causing environmental problems. The easiest way to do this is to use recycled or remanufactured materials. For example, you might use remanufactured toner cartridges and recycled paper in your printer. You may also want to consider using renewable materials for office furniture; using bamboo chairs, for example, will save energy as this material is renewable.
In addition to using renewable materials, consider buying energy efficient appliances. You can buy Energy Star computers and printers that use less energy and use energy more efficiently. Since these machines use energy so efficiently, you'll save money on your business' utility bills as well as conserve energy for the good of the environment.
Finally, you should practice basic green energy savings techniques such as equipping your office with energy-efficient light bulbs and turning off lights in rooms that nobody is using. You may also want to unplug office equipment at night to save electricity.
Implement Environmentally Conscious Policies
Your brand should be as green a brand as possible. This is attractive to customers as well as helpful for the environment. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set policies that help protect the environment. For example, you can send all bills and correspondence via email rather than using paper bills. If you make it a matter of policy that you don't send out any paper, customers won't object to giving their email addresses and you will save paper.
Equip Your Break Room
The break room is one place where it's easy for businesses to save money and go green. Many break rooms offer a shelf full of paper plates and plastic silverware; instead, purchase reusable plates and silverware. You'll need to have a policy in place to ensure that employees clean up after themselves, but using reusable plates can help save the environment, and your business will spend far less money once it transitions away from disposable plates and utensils. In addition, make sure to have a recycling bin in your break room so that employees can easily dispose of recyclable materials such as plastic and glass bottles.
Another creative way to make your break room more green is to offer wifi service and a couple of laptops for employee use in the break room. Many employees read newspapers or other printed materials while on their break; if you can replace these with online access to news, your employees will be less likely to buy newspapers.
It's important to let your customers know that you are a green company and exactly what that entails. It's become trendy for companies to make token gestures towards the environment, so you want to stand out from the crowd. Your marketing materials should announce that you are a green company and that you constantly seek to improve your policies and procedures in order to protect the environment. If possible, give specific examples. This lets customers know that you are committed to environmental responsibility, which is very attractive to them.
Jay Reed works and writes for Utility Manufacturing, a company that specializes in pinion wire manufacturing.