5 Ways to Be More Sustainable in Your Small Business
The topic of sustainability is just as important in a small business work environment as it is in any other place where resources are being consumed. It’s not only good for the Earth but it also improves the reputation of your business and the sense of well-being among employees. Sustainable practices tend to have a ripple effect that can begin even with a small drop of effort. If you institute practices during employees’ work day, they are likely to carry these home with them and out into other places in the world, multiplying their effects.
Start sustainable practices with our list of the top five tips for becoming more sustainable.
- Monitor the use of paper in the office. Millions of acres of forest are destroyed annually in the name of paper consumption, not to mention the amount of water that is used to produce this office necessity. Although it might be unrealistic to go completely paperless, encourage your employees to use electronic storage for documents instead of printing them. Other methods for saving paper are to print double sided documents or to re-use one-sided paper for notes or other sketches.
- Recycle. Although it may sound trite, it’s very important to recycle. Many people can’t be bothered to recycle simply out of laziness or ignorance of how to do so. Inform yourself about what your community accepts before simply placing bins throughout the office. The three important recyclable products found commonly in offices are paper, batteries and plastics.
- Turn off devices or put them into sleep mode. It may seem like a hassle to be constantly turning things on and off, but always leaving office computers on can add up on your electricity bill over time. If it feels like too much to turn computers on and off every night, we recommend at least implementing a weekend turn off policy. Another way to save energy during the week is to use sleep mode, a setting nearly all computers have.
- Incorporate the use of sustainable products into the office. Nothing helps to change habits like daily reminders when you are washing your hands, grabbing a paper towel, or reaching for another sheet of paper. There are many products on the market that are made using naturally derived products and biodegradable ingredients. It is also possible to choose brands of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins with recycled content in them.
- Consider the lighting efficiency of your office. Offices can save immensely on energy costs by implementing sustainable practices. Incandescent bulbs, which are the least expensive to buy are also the least energy efficient when it comes to lighting. We recommend using florescent lamps and tubes instead of the classic bulb. Also we recommend using natural light as much as possible by keeping windows open or using skylights. Lighter colored walls also reflect the most amount of light, making the best use of this natural resource.