Small Business & Startups and Sustainability

5 simple ways to green your business

June 26, 2018
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As a business owner, every decision you make impacts your bottom line. By taking steps to green your business, you can make a positive impact on the environment, your business and our community.

Switching to environmentally friendly practices, like recycling and using energy efficient lightbulbs, are simple ways to help your business save money while appealing to earth-friendly customers. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make drastic changes in your business to become better for the environment. Here are some easy ways you can take your business down a “greener” path.

1. Conduct a waste audit

Do you know how much paper your business is throwing away every day? Are you still printing receipts for every order? Take inventory of how much waste is leaving your business by conducting a waste audit. Everything from checking for leaky faucets to tracking how many pens are thrown away or the number of disposable coffee cups used in a day — these are all items that can be recycled or replaced with a sustainable option. For example, if your audit shows employees are using disposable cups for water, encourage them to bring a reusable water bottle instead. Visit the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum’s website for a sample checklist created in partnership with the Kent County Department of Public Works to get you started on your audit.

2. Donate old furniture and technology

Making updates around the office? Don’t throw away an old desk or chair and let it sit in a landfill. Many items can be repaired if they are broken or reused for parts. The Kent County Department of Public Works has a handy guide that outlines all the different ways to dispose of materials — everything from computers and electronics to junk mail and cardboard.

3. Use alternative transportation

Leaving the car at home reduces emissions while encouraging employees to protect the environment. Riding the bus, walking or cycling to work not only helps the environment but it also can help employees adopt habits that promote good health. You can learn more about creating a greener commute for employees on The Rapid’s website at ridetherapid.org/additional-services.

4. Use green office supplies

Need to stock up on the essentials like pens, paper and other supplies? Purchase reusable and sustainable supplies from a locally owned office supply business that can help minimize your environmental footprint. Switching to recycled paper and refillable pens will help you save money while protecting the environment. Additionally, you can also purchase “green gifts” like sustainably made drinkware, notebooks, bags and more.

5. Partner with local or green vendors

A simple way to make your business more environmentally friendly is to source materials from vendors within the community. For example, prioritize sourcing from vendors that offer products made with renewable materials or that minimize packaging. Additionally, by sourcing products from local businesses, this can reduce the environmental impacts of shipping.

Following a few of these steps not only can help your business become better for the environment, but it also can help you attract more customers and employees who care about the environment. To learn more about using your business to protect the environment, visit our sustainability page.

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