Imagine spending twice as much money as you make every year. If you were ever a college student, then you understand where this scenario is headed. Very quickly, with this kind of expenditure, you will find yourself in some serious debt. Similarly, according to footprintnetwork.org, as of 2012, we consume approximately 1.5 planet’s worth of resources globally every year. This means it takes our planet approximately a year and a half to recreate what we have consumed.
Whether you identify as a nature lover or not, this type of consumption is not a sustainable way of being. With “inconvenient truths” such as this one unraveling every day, small business owners can make a difference in preserving the precious few resources for forthcoming generations. Not only is this a choice that can help the environment, but it can help you become more successful as business professional. Becoming a green business can be as simple as shopping around for the right products, and cutting out any unnecessary and wasteful expenses.
Sensible Sustainable Shopping
The smartest way to tackle going green is to start slowly. Just like any turnover, you cannot expect your practices to change overnight. You can begin by changing the types of office products you use that are consumed on a daily basis. On sites such as Shoplet.com, you can use business credit cards to purchase recycled office supplies such as pens, paper, clipboards, pencils, and more. You can also set the amount you are willing to spend, and the site filters results showing you what you can afford, making it very simple to shop responsibly. Your employees won’t be terribly inconvenienced in this way since they probably won’t notice the difference between recycled or brand new products. Another area you can focus on when shopping green is cleaning supplies, such as paper towels, tissues and solvents. Sites such as Sustainablesupply.com offer competitive prices for these goods, and ship them for free when you make a purchase of $75 or more.
Simple Sustainable Solutions
Aside from purchasing wisely, there are many simple and inexpensive ways you can go green at the office. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reports that total electricity consumed by electronics not in use is the equivalent of the annual output of 12 power plants. Unplugging electrical cords, powering down equipment, and shutting off lights when not in use can be a great way to simultaneously reduce energy usage and your electricity bill. You can also print double-sided copies, buy energy-efficient light bulbs, send correspondence through email, and donate or recycle old electronics, as the EPA reminds us. These minor changes can add up in the long run. As reported by the Daily Beast, just changing the type of light bulbs you use can cut your energy bill by 75 percent.
Becoming identified as a certified green business is not as difficult as it might seem and can attract new customers. In some cities such as San Francisco, you can join a program through places like SFGreenBusiness.org and identify yourself as a part of a larger coalition of green businesses. A green seal of approval has never been easier. This program is not very different from nationwide program, Green America, which was founded on the belief that economic power can be used to create a more just and responsible society. As a facet of their mission statement, Green America has a place for shoppers to research and seek out businesses that are doing their part for the earth online. On GreenAmerica.org, consumers can make comparisons among different companies and choose the one that is right for them based on “green” business practices. Getting set up as a green business can attract these very customers to your company.