4 Ways to Save the Environment and Money at the Office

From the demands of keeping overhead costs low to boosting employee morale, running a small business can be quite challenging. In fact, as a small business owner, even your day-to-day decisions can be difficult and trying. There’s one decision that’s an easy one, though – to maintain an environmentally friendly office. Not only is the decision to be eco-friendly an easy one, but so too are the options you can implement. Being environmentally conscious in your small business is a way to do your part in protecting the environment and setting a good example for others. And the best part? The following suggestions can actually help save you money!

1. Save Paper, Save Trees
You’ve probably heard the suggestion before: save on paper by limiting your printing. Printing emails and other documents is so commonplace in many offices, though, that it’s worth mentioning again. Imagine if you were to only print one-third of the items you currently do. Not only would you be acting in an environmentally conscientious way, but you would also be saving money on paper, ink and toner. So, think before you print. If you must print, consider using a software such as GreenPrint that will help eliminate unwanted pages automatically (think last page of an email that only has one line of text). Also, if a document only exists in the physical form, but is widely distributed in the office, scan it to a PDF or similar format so that it can be easily accessible by email instead. Lastly, be sure to recycle your used printer cartridges. Many large retailers have recycling programs for those used cartridges, and some even offer coupons or discounts for bringing themose in.

2. Recycle and Use Recycled Products
Of course, sometimes printing can be unavoidable. When you’re finished using the items you printed, you should then recycle them. Place several paper recycling bins around the office – starting with right next to the printer. Place another recycling bin near the normal trash for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Help educate your employees on what can and cannot be recycled, and encourage them to recycle when they can. In addition to recycling that extra paper, consider switching as many office supplies as you can to those that are better for the environment or are made from recycled materials. Many office supply retailers offer alternatives ranging from desktop items such as scissors and sticky-notes to paper, pens and even liquid correction tools. You can also buy supplies in bulk. By receiving shipments less frequently you’ll help reduce the amount of fuel and packing materials necessary for deliveries. Companies such as Reliable.com offer bulk pricing on environmentally preferable supplies; ask your current supplier if they offer any eco-friendly or recycled office supplies and start making the switch today.

3. Renovate the Break Room
The office kitchen can often be the biggest offender of the environment. Think about the coffee hangout spot. Do your employees go through Styrofoam cup after cup of coffee? If each employee brought in his or her own reusable mug or cup, however, you could stop investing in disposable ones. This is both great for the environment and your wallet. The same concept applies to plates, bowls and even cutlery. This is especially easy to implement if you have a dishwasher in the office. Encourage your staff to only run the dishwasher when there is a full load. You can even take this a step further and use eco-friendly dishwashing products, such as those from Seventh Generation.

4. Cut Down On Your Utilities
There are many steps you can take to cut down on your use of utilities. In doing so, you will be acting in an environmentally friendly way while also saving money. For starters, you can replace your office lighting with something more energy efficient, such as compact fluorescent lights. These could save up to 75 percent of your energy consumption, which will both cut costs and energy use. Additionally, consider using motion censored light switches. These will ensure that lights are only used when actually needed. The easiest step you and your employees can take is to simply turn off the lights and all electronics at the end of the night. When possible, make sure that all computers, printers and other machines are turned off and unplugged. You’ll find that this earth friendly act will ultimately cut down your utilities bill.

You can see now that the above suggestions won’t take much effort to apply to your office. They’re mostly quick and easy ways to help green your office while saving you money too. Try applying just one tip to make a step toward helping the environment. The more tips you try, the more savings you’ll see, so save some green by going green.

http://www.energystar.gov
www.globalstewards.org

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Emilie_Babicz/1404388

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