We see, hear, and read every day that the world is becoming more environmentally conscious and taking steps to "go green." While many of these may be out of reach for smaller businesses, there are several things that even small businesses can do to head toward going green.
- Recycling. Most communities these days provide recycling centers. Therefore, businesses should find it fairly easy to provide internal receptacles and to transport or purchase recycling pick-up services for such recyclables as paper (including shredded), newspapers and magazines, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles.
- Installing energy-efficient light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, offering a greener alternative. Also, watch for the next generation of commercial-use energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. While LED pricing currently is rather high, LED bulbs typically use one-tenth the power of traditional light bulbs and last up to 20 times longer. Also, as volumes increase, prices should fall.
- Going smoke-free (or tobacco-free). One way for businesses to create a cleaner, healthier environment is to go smoke-free. This might involve eliminating smoking indoors, while providing limited smoking areas outside; or a business might go totally smoke-free, prohibiting smoking anywhere on the premises - indoors or outdoors. Further, a business might offer its employees complimentary or discounted programs to assist them in their efforts to quit smoking.
- Providing favored parking spaces. Businesses might consider offering special parking spaces for hybrid vehicles and transportation forms that use lesser amounts of fuel (e.g., motorcycles, scooters). The provision of easily accessible bicycle racks also is important.
- Going "paperless." While most would agree that going totally paperless probably is unachievable, many companies already have begun to make progress in decreasing the amount of paper they use. To reduce paper, consider offering electronic portals to clients or utilizing other electronic means of sharing and working with data.
- Offering "green" shopping bags. As you shop these days, you will see that many stores are selling reusable shopping bags. Consider distributing to your customers, clients, and prospects a green shopping bag with your business logo. You take a step toward environmental consciousness, while garnering some publicity at the same time.
These are just a few of the steps a small business can take toward "going green." The benefit to your business includes energy cost savings and maybe a bit of positive publicity, plus making a contribution to a healthier environment.