by Donna Marbury, Communications Specialist
Flick your TV on any news station, and you will hear a story about how going green can save the environment. Celebrities are wearing shirts, campaigning about how ‘going green’ can save money and help air and water to stay clean. But how does a business change their practices, in order to help the environment? Below is a list of easy-to-implement tips that can help your business be safer to the air, grounds and water… and even save money!
- RECYCLE. Collecting used paper, aluminum and plastic for recycling is the simplest and most affordable way for businesses to help the environment. However, businesses can also recycle batteries, paint, motor oil and cell phones. For help on setting up an office recycling program, and how to reuse other office waste, visit www.earth911.org/recycling.
- DITCH THE BOTTLED WATER. According to Lighterfootstep.com, bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, with only one in five of those plastic bottles being recycled. Save money and plastic by pooling coworkers to pitch in on an office water cooler, or a water-filtration system for the kitchen faucet.
- ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO CARPOOL OR USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Many cities that have busses and other types of public transportation provide group discounts to businesses that provide riders with long-term passes. Carpoolers are not only reducing costs of gas and parking, but also air pollution. Many times carpoolers and employers who offer incentives to them are eligible for tax breaks. Visit www.cleanaircampaign.org/Your-Workplace for ways to set up a commute options program.
- USE LESS LIGHT. Most offices leave the lights on all day and all night. Start by turning off lights in any room you’re not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on. Standard, incandescent light bulbs should be turned off whenever they are not needed. Fluorescent lights should be turned off whenever you’ll be away for 15 minutes or more.
- COMMUNICATE ELECTRONICALLY. Businesses can invoice clients, send out newsletters and other information via the Web. Check out easy to use programs like ConstantContact.com which provides easy templates for Web communication. There are several Electronic Invoicing and Payment (EIP) programs available that can be more convenient for your clients. What you spend on a quick and easy electronic communications program could save man-hours, postage and trees.
- UPGRADE TO LAPTOPS RATHER THAN DESKTOPS. Consider replacing desktop computers with Energy Star-rated laptop models. Not only do they use 70 percent less energy than non-certified laptops, but they are more convenient for traveling employees.
- LET THE OHIO EPA HELP YOU. The Ohio EPA provides many services to businesses that are looking reduce toxins, waste and be more environmentally-friendly. The Office for Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention provides a variety of onsite assistance services to meet your needs in implementing pollution prevention. The Small Business Compliance Center specializes in keeping smaller businesses informed of laws they may not be aware of. The free services are available, and consultants will come out to businesses for free evaluations. The office’s hotline is (800) 329-7518.
- MONITOR THE TEMPERATURE. One of the simplest things businesses can do to save energy and money is regulate the building temperature. Setting the furnace thermostat lower at times during winter and higher during summer can result in significant savings. Depending upon your climate, the savings range from one to three percent for each 10-degree setback period of eight hours during winter. The percentage savings when air-conditioning is even higher. Programming your thermostat can lower the temperature at times when employees aren’t in the building, and make the temperature more comfortable when they are on their way in the office.
- SHOP SMARTER AND GREENER. Use Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) to purchase materials that use less energy, less water, have no or low toxics and are made of recycled material or are recyclable. By visiting the U.S. EPA’s Web site on EPP, (www.epa.gov/epp), businesses can compare the costs and evaluate the benefits of green services and products.
- STAY INFORMED! Everyday new strategies are found in order for you to do your part with keeping the environment clean. That’s why it is important for you to stay abreast to all of the latest in environmental news. Online newsletters, such as www.GreenBiz.com are also helpful in providing for businesses.