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How to Green Your Business - 5 Affordable and Efficient Ways

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Mary Ann Keeling

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Most business owners have been put off by the idea of environmentally friendly business. It sounds expensive, it sounds like a lot of work and they believe that business has no benefits from switching to green practice. All these reasons not to “go green” are common misconceptions that have nothing to do with reality.

As a matter of fact, making your business green help both your business and the environment. This practice contributes to your employees’ health and well-being, increases productivity, reduces your company’s bills and saves you a large sum of money.

Let’s see 5 most affordable and efficient ways to make your business green.

1. Switching to compact fluorescent and LED lights

Although compact fluorescent bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs, they are the easiest way to switch to a more energy efficient home and office. If you use them on a regular basis, you can expect visible money savings. Compact fluorescent bulbs last up to 12 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use much less energy.

Although LED lights haven’t been popular due to their high price and narrow light beam, the development in LED technology has solved these issues. Today, they are the most cost-effective bulbs and soon, they will be even more popular than compact fluorescent lighting. Also, they do not contain toxic substances such as mercury.

2. Recycling and reusing

In the office, most people just toss their papers and plastic cups into a trash bin, without even thinking about reusing them. Do not let this happen again - ask around whether your community has a recycling program and encourage your employees to think green. Designate a “reuse” area where the employees would check in before ordering new supplies.

Introduce additional green measures, such as: reusing envelopes, refill pens, tape dispensers, cardboard boxes and other office supplies when possible. Always purchase recycled ink cartridges, recycled paper products and used office furniture. Stop using paper and plastic cups and use porcelain mugs instead. You’ll see – the savings will be dramatic.

3. Going paperless

You can make your business almost completely paperless, in just several easy steps. Investing in the right technology may be expensive at the beginning, but it will surely pay off later. Buy a multifunctional device for your office, such as a photocopier which can fax, scan and print documents.

Inspire your employees to use all advantages of web-based applications. Most of them are free of charge (basic accounts). They allow team members to communicate with each other, share files, take notes and track different phases of projects (Basecamp, Trello, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and so on).

Also, it would be wise to hire transcription experts to type all your recorded business meetings, delivering them via email or any other means of file transfer.

4. Using green cleaning products.

After the working hours, most offices are thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed. Unfortunately, most of the products which are used in the process are toxic to both people’s bodies and the environment. Even seemingly harmless products that are used by the employees (dish and hand soaps, bathroom fresheners etc.) may be harmful if they are full of cheap and aggressive ingredients.

Think about your employees ’ well-being – switching to green products will result in their (and your) improved health, less allergic reactions and better working conditions. Buy biodegradable and organic cosmetic and cleaning products that reduce exposure to toxic ingredients. There are lots of stores that sell such products and they are not necessarily more expensive than the regular ones.

5. Installing water recycling system

Plastic bottles of water may be recycled - but why generate such a waste? In the US alone, there were 32 million tons of plastic waste in 2011. Only a part of such huge waste can be recycled. The other part that can’t be recycled still poses a great threat to the environment.

If you don’t want to partake in such terrible pollution, don’t buy bottled water for your employees - install a water filtration system in the office instead. The water in the office will be clean and fresh. More importantly, your business will save a significant amount of money as you are doing a good deed for the environment.

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