Earth Day is April 22, 2018, and a perfect time for your business to go green! Eco-friendly habits save money and resources. It also inspires employees to go green at home and in other aspects of their lives all year round. Habits like these tend to snowball—pretty soon recycling, being mindful of waste, and reusing or donating items becomes second nature in the home and office.
Here are 10 tips to help you think green!
- THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT: You don’t need to print things to “back them up.” Instead, use thumb drives, external hard drives, or cloud-based systems to back up data. If you must print something, use the draft mode setting on your printer (it uses less ink) and print on 100 percent recycled paper. Also, purchase refilled toner and ink cartridges instead of new supplies.
- BE SMART ABOUT CLIMATE CONTROL: Install energy-saving ceiling fans to keep air circulating rather than running the air conditioning or heater all day long. Use an energy-saving thermostat to automatically control the climate so you never leave the office with the air conditioning or heater on. Energy Star, a federal program, estimates that 30 percent of energy in buildings is used unnecessarily or inefficiently.
- UPGRADE APPLIANCES: Consider buying new, energy-efficient appliances for your break room. The fridge can use huge amounts of energy, especially if many people share it. Older microwaves also consume too much energy. Look for Energy Star appliances.
- GO GREEN IN THE RESTROOM: Install low-water-use toilets and faucets, and put in hand dryers to cut down on paper use.
- SAVE ON LIGHTING: Here’s a bright idea: Switch to motion-sensitive lighting in shared spaces such as the break room, bathrooms, and office supply closet. And if you can, switch to LED or compact fluorescent lights. They’re costlier up front, but can save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
- MAKE RECYCLING EASY: Have paper recycling bins handy in the office and food container recycling bins in the break room. Label the bins. According to Recycling Across America, there’s a crisis in recycling: People tend to mix up recyclables, which has put such a strain on the recycling industry that recycling businesses are closing. The No. 1 way to stop that is to label bins: Compost (food and food-related paper, but no plastic); Landfill; and Glass, Cans, and Plastic Bottles.
- ASSESS YOUR USAGE: Check with your local electric company and gas company to see if they offer energy audits—virtually all of them do. Your state also might offer an energy audit. Have an audit done and implement the recommended changes.
- REDUCE & REUSE: Buy used office furniture, and donate old furniture, computers, and other non-biodegradable equipment and supplies to nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Salvation Army. They’ll even pick up your donations.
- GO NON-TOXIC: Save money and stop exposing the environment, yourself, and others to toxic chemicals by using biodegradable, eco-friendly cleaners.
- PROMOTE ECO-FRIENDLY TRANSIT: A recent report showed that over 75 percent of U.S. workers drive alone to work. Encourage your employees to carpool, take public transportation, walk, or bike to work instead of driving. Provide bike lockups and subsidized transit passes. Have weekly rewards or raffles for those who left their cars at home.