Make Your Business Eco-Friendlier This Earth Day

Every Earth Day challenges each of us with a question: What can we do to protect our planet and make it a better place for all? For small businesses, being environmentally conscious is not only a positive business attribute, but it also matters to customers. Recent research shows that 78% of consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them. Eliminating your waste and lowering your carbon footprint may seem like tall tasks, but there are practical, everyday things you can do starting now.

  • Recycle: Sending waste to the recycling center instead of the landfill drastically reduces your personal CO2 emissions. And that doesn’t just go for everyday items like plastics, aluminum, packaging, and in-house supplies. Recycling old electronics and office equipment goes a long way, too.
  • Go paperless: Not every business has this luxury, but cutting out paper waste is one of the most commonsense ways you can help the environment. Not only is the move beneficial for earth’s natural resources, but it can also save money and space while increasing efficiency and productivity.
  • Power off: Electronic devices can expend a lot of energy, even when they’re not in use. Proper power-management practices can help. If your devices have a low power “sleep” mode, use it. There are also advanced power strips that limit energy from being drawn when it’s not necessary.
  • Invest in energy-efficient lights: Turning off lights when they aren’t needed is an important first step, but the type of lighting you use in your business space matters, too. LEDs use about 75% less energy and last 25 times longer compared to incandescent lighting. They also cut down on heat, which in turn reduces the strain on your other systems.
  • Optimize your business space: Buildings themselves contribute heavily to carbon emissions. You can decrease your business’s output by switching to renewable energy like solar panels or dimmable windows. Smaller solutions are also available such as sealing windows and doors with weather-stripping or caulk to prevent air leaks. In the summer, consider blocking direct sunlight from shining through windows. In the winter, let the sunlight in during the day and cover the windows at night.

Many of the above measures don’t matter if your team is not onboard. Get your staff involved in your eco-friendly mission and ask them to contribute ideas of their own. Doing so will empower your employees and build trust and engagement. 

ENERGY STAR offers efficiency tips for specific types of small businesses, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership can help establish sensible targets. Looking for more easy ways to save energy and money? Check out the Energy Department’s Energy Saver Guide.

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