How often do you think about the environmental impact of your small business? If it’s not top of mind, it should be.
Consumers are beginning to express their desire to improve the environment with their wallets. According to a survey by US shipping service Sendle, 57% of responders indicated that climate change had somewhat or completely caused them to reassess their purchasing habits. Furthermore, nearly 71% said that they planned to purchase more sustainable products. Therefore, companies of all sizes need to start considering how to be more eco-friendly.
10 Ways Your Small Business Can be More Eco-Friendly
Have Employees Work from Home
Remote work is great for the environment because it means fewer cars on the road and fewer cars idling in traffic. This then equates to less carbon dioxide being released into the air. Plus, you will save money on things like lighting and heating the workplace.
Offer Benefits for Using Public Transit
If your employees can’t work remotely, you might consider offering incentives to get them to use public transit. Using public transportation, such as buses, trains, carpools, is the most sustainable way for employees to commute. Therefore, you should offer your staff things like subsidized transit passes or a later start time for workers who take the bus.
Implement a Recycling Program
Landfills are a huge problem for the environment. Therefore to be more eco-friendly, businesses should do their best to keep waste out of landfills. One of the ways to do this is to implement a recycling program.
The basis of any recycling program is the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Small businesses should reduce the use of single-use products like disposable cups, plates, utensils, and coffee pods. Instead, companies should opt for reusable products. Then, whenever possible, businesses should reuse anything they can—for example, using both sides of printer paper instead of one. Finally, when reducing or reusing isn’t possible, companies must recycle. This entails having a designated recycling box and ensuring that all recyclable materials are disposed of properly.
Choose a Sustainable Web Host
Websites use a lot of energy because the servers that host a site’s data are always on. Fortunately, you can choose where your website’s data is stored. Therefore, you should choose to host your site with an eco-friendly web hosting provider.
Green hosts will have made offering sustainable hosting services a priority. This means that they either offset their energy consumption or utilize clean energy for their data centers.
Encourage Employees to Compost
In addition to a recycling program, composting is a good way to keep waste out of landfills. This is important because, in a landfill, food waste becomes greenhouse gas, whereas, in compost, it decays quickly and becomes soil. Therefore, by encouraging employees to put their lunch leftovers in a composting bin, you’ll be helping to make the workplace more eco-friendly.
Utilize Sustainable Products
Businesses need certain products to function, such as printer paper, hygiene items, and cleaning materials. However, if you purchase products like toilet paper that are made from post or pre-consumer waste, you’ll be helping reduce waste. And for cleaning products, using green cleaners made without toxic chemicals will help keep toxins out of the environment.
Perform Energy-Efficient Upgrades
Doing simple things like moving to LED lights, automating lights with sensors, and using smart thermostats is eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Purchase Carbon Offsets
There will always be a portion of a business’s carbon footprint that can’t be reduced through simple changes to the work environment. This is where purchasing carbon offsets can help move the needle towards carbon neutrality.
There are several different carbon marketplaces that you can use to calculate and offset your emissions. However, when making your selection, you have to search for third-party certification and research what projects the investments are made in. A few reputable carbon offset organizations you may want to consider include: Cool Effect, Terrapass, and South Pole.
Choose Sustainable Packaging
If your small business sells and ships products, you’ll undoubtedly go through a lot of packaging. Therefore, to be more eco-friendly, you’ll want to use recycled paper and cardboard for packaging your products. Alternatively, you may want to look into compostable packaging as this results in zero waste.
Outfit The Office With Secondhand Furniture
Making new tables, couches, chairs, and desks take a lot of energy and raw material. So to go the green route, your company should search for well-made secondhand furniture or opt for recycled furniture. This will ensure that completely functional furniture won’t get thrown into the landfill in favor of the latest styles.