How to Green Your Business

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As a business owner, you have the unique opportunity to green your business at the individual level and in your workplace. Greening your workplace also sends a message to your employees and customers that operating in a sustainable way is part of how you do business. While they may not teach you these tips in business school, rethinking energy and resource use at all levels of your enterprise can save you money and improve your business’s image, as well.

Use Commuter Checks

The Commuter Check program exists all over the United States. It’s a way that businesses can save tax dollars while also encouraging their employees to utilize public transit. These checks can be used to cover a variety of more sustainable transit options, such as public transit, vanpooling and bicycling. Employers who use Commuter Checks can save 10 percent on their payroll salary, and employees who use the checks can save up to 40 percent on their commuting costs. Employers can provide the checks as a substitute for taxable salary or as part of a benefits package.

Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting

Changing your regular light bulbs to more energy-efficient ones can seem like a token gesture to green your business. In reality, however, this small change can make a big difference, especially over time. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to one-quarter less energy than a regular bulb, and they also produce less heat, which can reduce your air conditioning bills. They also last about 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Considering that 10 percent of your office energy bill may be from lighting alone, the switch can also save you money.

Green Your Printing

Many offices go through reams of paper on a daily basis. Altering the way you print and the type of products you use to print can have a noticeable change in the sustainability of your business.

  • Buy Recycled: Buy recycled paper for printing, and remember that buying paper products in bulk means less packaging wasted. Have your ink and toner cartridges refilled, rather than buying new ones.
  • Reuse Paper: Have a bin especially for paper that has only been printed on one side. This can be used to print drafts or other non-“official” documents; it can also be used for scratch paper.
  • Print Less: If everyone in the office has a laptop, why do all reports need to be printed out on paper before a meeting? While it is necessary to print sometimes, try to use electronic files in place of printing, when possible. In the meantime, change your printer settings to print on both sides automatically.
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