Topics in Small Business: Going Green

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Making your office and operations environmentally friendly is a positive change for all parties involved – the Earth, your budget, and your customers. It doesn’t take a huge effort to start greening your business; simply putting out a recycling bin is a great way to get the ball rolling. Here’s how to start your journey to become an eco-friendly small business.

1. Track Usage

The first step in creating any plan is identifying problem areas. Look over gas and electric bills and jot down in a spreadsheet how much you used for the past few months. How about water? Mileage on the company car? Tracking your ecological footprint can help you see where you’re spending a lot of money, or wasting the most energy… and where you can start setting new goals.

2. Make a Plan

Once you’ve identified the problems, brainstorm a few ways to address them. It could be as simple as putting a recycling bin in the staff room, or a sign reminding employees to switch off the bathroom light when they leave. If you have more room in the budget for sustainability efforts, consider installing low-flow faucets or energy-efficient lighting. Some CFL or LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than their traditional counterparts. Despite the initial expense, these changes could save you money in the long run as your bills go down. When it’s time to restock on supplies, opt for recycled goods or otherwise eco-friendly materials. Check out this site for some relatively inexpensive alternatives.

3. Note Progress

Don’t abandon that spreadsheet. Keep tracking monthly usage and expenses to see how your plan is working, and if it needs tweaking.

4. Show it off

Environmental concerns are a bigger issue than ever, so being eco-friendly is a big selling point for any business. Inform your employees of the progress your company makes to instill pride in their workplace. Tweet or post to Facebook the improvements you achieve in concrete numbers or percentages – the reductions in energy usage or the increase in recycling, for example – so the community is aware of your efforts. Environmentally conscious customer may be more inclined to stick with you if they feel you’re making an altruistic effort to better the planet.

Conclusion: Even if you’re not a tree-hugger, investing in greening your business is a smart decision. It can save you money, impress employees and customers, and of course, help save the planet. Start making changes today!

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Market Research Web Editor at LiveHelpNow and Azzur Group, LLC Contributing Writer at Greatist Editorial Assistant at The Pennsylvania Gazette Reporter at Penn Law Editorial Intern at Philadelphia Magazine University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences King's College London, U. of London Connect with me on +Katie Siegel
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