Having an interest in greening your business shows you’re sensitive to our environment. Your efforts contribute tremendously to the vitality of our earth. Both corporate giants and small businesses are making eco-friendly strides in various forms from using power saving windows to energy-efficient bulbs. Below are some other great practices companies are adopting to reduce their carbon footprint. You can follow suit!
1. Minimize paper waste.
Here’s a jaw-dropping fact: The amount of wood and paper our country trashes annually could heat 50,000,000 houses for 20 years!
- Fax Paper – The average office of 25 people using a fax machine goes through 8,700 pounds of fax paper each year. Reducing paper waste by just 10 percent annually eliminates the emission equivalent of 280,000 cars. Internet faxing is a way to both save trees and curb emissions. Using fax software, you can transmit documents electronically. For outgoing faxes, you log onto the website, enter the destination data, and upload your document. After confirming the information, press “Send” on the webpage. For incoming faxes, you’re assigned a phone number. Faxes sent to the number are forwarded to your email address as an attachment.
- Office Memos – Communicate via broadcast email and read messages on-screen.
- Copying – Reproduce double-sided documents whenever possible.
- Computer Printing – Find a supplier selling recycled paper or re-purpose your own. When purchasing paper, ideally look for products labeled “100 percent PCW,” representing “post-consumer waste.” Such paper is entirely recycled, using 45 percent less energy and yielding half the waste of conventional paper production.
2. Reduce hazardous material exposure.
Sanitary stainless steel strainers filter and remove hazardous particulates from food, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Eco-conscious companies rely on this hardware to create pure products for human consumption.
Basket devices can be combined with existing fixtures or used in new pipes. The hardware is easy to assemble, dismantle, and clean. Crafted in 1-inch through 4-inch sizes, they can both filter and sift. Housings are available in side-inlet and in-line configurations.
Quality side-inlet sanitary strainers also protect other processing equipment, such as pumps, heat exchangers, homogenizers, spray nozzles, meters, and needle valves. Such strainers save us from eating contaminated food. Products benefiting from this practice are ice cream, milk, soup, jelly, chocolate, butter, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and salad dressing.
A printer cartridge tossed in a landfill takes 450 years to decompose. Each year, 10 million of these cassettes end up in dumps. Printer ink pollutes water and soil. Packaging consumes timber, plastic, and steel. Did you know your company can earn money by recycling used printer cartridges? TonerBuyer.com pays consumers for brand-name products, along with the shipping costs. They also buy empty copier and fax cartridges. Your company can receive up to $22 for each empty cassette.
3. Conserve water.
Water-related energy use generates roughly 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. For every one million gallons of water conserved, nearly 2 metric tons of CO2 emissions are prevented. Environmental scientists predict we’re headed for worldwide shortages of fresh water over the next 50 years. Here’s how your business can help divert this disaster.
- Leaks – After using a water tap, close it tightly. According to the Green Business Bureau, a leak of one drop per second wastes 10,000 liters of water per year. If a spigot continues leaking, promptly obtain the services of a plumber.
- Fixtures – Low-flow faucets, toilets, and shower heads use less water per minute than older models. A high-pressure technique delivers adequate water pressure. Such devices conserve both water and electricity.
- Landscaping – As an alternative to a water-thirsty lawn, landscape with drought-tolerant plants. Other water-saving options are rock gardens and mulches. A rain-harvesting system can collect water for irrigation purposes. In conjunction with rainwater, your company can also use air conditioning condensate. When weather is hot and dry, use collected condensate. When air conditioning isn’t in use, switch to rainwater.
4. Use biodegradable cleaners.
Ecological cleaning products eliminate toxic residues. They protect both you and the environment from life-threatening exposure. Thousands of chemicals are commonly used commercially, many not tested for safety. They pollute our waterways, persist in soil, and enter the animal food chain. When we absorb and inhale toxic residues, we become vulnerable to cancer.
5. Save electricity.
Switching to solar is now cost-effective for businesses. Making this possible are lower installation costs and government incentives. The average system pays for itself in three to seven years. Thereafter, you have a free electric supply for your system’s lifetime, at least 25 years.
With a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), you can convert without having to buy panels. The solar provider commits to supplying energy at an agreed-upon rate for an extended period, such as 20 years.
- LEDs – For artificial lighting, LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient, lasting up to 50,000 hours. Featuring various brightness levels, they’re ideal for overhead lights and desk lamps.
- Adjusters – Dimmers adjust brightness, saving electricity and bulb lifespan. Motion sensor lights respond to movement, turning off when you leave their peripheral. AM Conservation Group sells a broad range of energy-saving lighting options, available by bulk order for businesses. The company offers both indoor and outdoor commercial products. For additional information, visit: http://www.amconservationgroup.com/categories/energy-efficient-lighting/.
“Daylighting” refers to the use of skylights and an automatic shading system, adjusting the amount of sunlight. Since this design eliminates excessive heat, you’ll spend less on ventilation and cooling. The warmth of sunlight also lowers heating bills.
Studies show that incorporating more daylight into the office environment boosts employee efficiency and well-being. Natural light reduces the incidence of glare, eyestrain, headaches, and malaise, common to employees working under fluorescent lights.
Conventional skylights require considerable upkeep. Their flat design allows leaves, snow, and ice to collect, leading to progressive damage. Cleaning is an ongoing responsibility. However, tube skylights are dome-shaped, impact-resistant, and self-cleaning. Their one-piece, solid construction minimizes maintenance and repairs.
6. Participate in service projects.
Businesses across the country are pooling resources for volunteer ecological initiatives. Many employers pay their staff for participating. Here are some examples:
- Timberland celebrates Earth Day in April with a designated service project. In 2015, over 300 employees upgraded a Massachusetts rail trail.
- Clearlink works with local Utah environmental groups, such as SaveOurCanyons, and national non-profits, such as Walk4Water. The digital marketing agency recently planted 1,200 trees in a local park, one tree for each employee!
- Greenvelope designs e-invitations, donating a percentage of every sale to Mountains to Sound, a charity that maintains forest in the Pacific Northwest.
- UGE International holds an employee awareness event in honor of Earth Day. Last year, staff helped plant a rooftop garden for a New York City church. Local food pantries receive the produce.
- DaVita HealthCare hosts an annual Earth Day project. In 2015, employees removed 154 pounds of garbage and cigarette butts from California’s Manhattan Beach.
- MiracleGro employees plant community gardens, totaling 500 to date!
- Each year, NRG staff travel from New Jersey to Haiti, installing solar panels in an earthquake recovery effort. Over the last five years, employees have donated $2,000,000 and improved the lives of 65,000 Haitians.
Your Efforts Matter!
Business practices directly affect our planet’s health. Your actions can save plant, animal, and human life, both now and for the future. Follow in the carbon-less footsteps of eco-minded companies by:
- minimizing paper waste
- reducing hazardous material exposure
- conserving water
- using biodegradable cleaners
- saving electricity
- participating in service projects
From switching light bulbs to planting trees, there’s so much your business can do! Keep these ideas in mind, and use them as starters for more ideas in the future. Every little bit can help reduce your impact on the earth and the environment.
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