These days, companies feel a lot of pressure to go green. As the earth’s average surface temperature steadily rises, the climate crisis is becoming more imminent, and the responsibility to help protect our planet falls on everyone—including businesses.
But going green also helps your bottom line. Consumers are voting green with their wallets. For example, nearly half of US consumers say they would change their buying habits to help the environment. And this is especially true among millennials and younger generations.
Implementing green business practices today has many benefits. It endears you to environmentally-conscious consumers, attracts good employees, and increases your efficiency. So here are 9 ways your business can start being more environmentally friendly today:
- Reduce paper waste
Everyone knows that it’s good to recycle paper. But that doesn’t mean it always happens. Businesses can save a lot of paper by setting up recycling bins around the office, using email and cloud services like Amazon AWS, and installing bidets in company bathrooms.
Why bidets? Besides being popular nearly everywhere in the world except in North America, bidets dramatically reduce toilet paper usage. If you give your employees the option to use one (and believe me, it feels much better than toilet paper), you could reduce how much toilet paper you buy for the office by 75% or more!
- Offer clean drinking water
The average adult needs to drink anywhere from 11.5 to 15.5 cups of water per day. And your employees won’t drink all that at home if they work in an office. So provide clean, filtered water and reusable cups or bottles for them. That way, they can get their daily water intake without buying disposable plastic water bottles, which take more carbon emissions to produce, kill marine life, and often contain water that is less clean.
- Allow remote work
Since COVID-19 started, remote work has become a new norm. If your business doesn’t already, you should strongly consider allowing your employees to work from home, at least part-time. That way, you’ll encourage fewer carbon emissions by reducing work commutes and simultaneously lower your business’s energy bill. Think about how much you could save on stocking, lighting, heating, and cooling the office!
On top of that, offering remote work could attract more workers. People value the flexibility and comfort that it brings. So try out some new collaboration and video conferencing software. See if it can’t be a viable alternative to working together in person. If you must have workers come into the office at times, organize a carpool service or reimburse public transit passes to incentivize commuting together.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient LED light bulbs
Did you know that LED bulbs use 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs? If you replace all your office’s light bulbs with LEDs, you’ll help the environment by using less electricity. And since LEDs also emit less heat, you won’t need to use as much energy on cooling the office in the summer. It’s a win-win all around.
For the best LED bulbs, look for ones that are ENERGY STAR-certified. You should also consider getting light fixtures with motion and daylight sensors. This way, the lights will automatically turn off when you don’t need them so that you can be maximally energy-efficient.
- Install efficient HVAC systems
Next, install efficient HVAC systems in your office. If you are leasing the building, you’ll need to talk to the property owner about this.
Smart HVAC systems, like smart thermostats, help you save energy by automatically adjusting temperatures and fans to ideal levels while workers are in the building. They sense the outside temperature and adjust accordingly. This way, you’re not running the heater or AC too much when nobody is there.
- Set up indoor plants
Office plants are an amazing way to reduce the amount of CO2 you let out. Through the process of photosynthesis, they turn CO2 into oxygen, which improves the air quality for everyone inside.
Plus, having indoor plants will improve the office’s look and the overall feel. Studies even show that the color green has a calming effect on the body that helps reduce stress levels.
- Power down computers at the end of the day
You might be used to keeping your computer on 24/7 at home. After all, what’s the point in turning it off if you just have to reboot it again the next day? But you shouldn’t do this at work.
The truth is that computers expend a lot of energy. By leaving them on overnight, you are draining your electricity bill each month, not to mention wearing out the computers. So shut them down at the end of each workday. These days, most computers startup pretty fast anyway because they have solid-state drives (SSD) instead of hard disk drives (HDD).
- Use sustainable packaging
If you ship products, use sustainable packaging. This means the packaging is made of recyclable material and has a compact design so that you can ship more in one trip. Packaging that has lots of air pockets, for example, is inefficient because it costs unnecessary gas (and money) to transport. So see if you can’t make your packaging more eco-friendly by packing products as tightly as possible.
- Work with other green businesses
Lastly, support a clean environment by working with other green businesses. Think of your web hosting service or other contractors. Do they have sustainable practices and policies in place? If not, look for carbon-neutral competitors who share the same environmental values as you do.
That’s it! Now you have 9 ways to help the environment with your business. Though each one may only make a small difference, their cumulative effect over time will be great. And they’ll help put your business on the road to success, both environmentally and financially.