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How to Make Your Home Business More Eco-Friendly

Minimize Paperwork, Recycle when Possible, and Adopt Techniques to Lower Utility Bills

© 2012 by Karl Young; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A green conference table; photo courtesy Kathryn Thompson

A green conference table; photo courtesy Kathryn Thompson

This article was last revised on 11/27/20.

If you have ever considered that making your home business and home office more eco-friendly to boost your business image with your clients, then you are on the right track. When you decide to set up an environmental plan for your business, your enterprise can be improved through the changes you implement.

Implementing an eco-friendly plan will not only show your customers a green image, but it can be money-saving, due to the fact of a continuous decrease of energy consumption. Continue to read for some unconventional, but eye-opening, tips.

First, whatever plan you develop, make sure your management team (which is probably just you and perhaps a partner) wet their feet. Remember that preaching along with an example is more effective than simply flapping your lips.

When you set up any sustainable commerce plan, supervisors and managers have to be the first ones to sign on in order to show leadership. Here are some ideas you may consider applying:

Dealing with Never-Ending Paperwork:

There are many occasions where paper is absolutely not necessary; you can email your staff instead using electronic means. When staff members are collaborating on a document, use computer software that facilitates this.

Adobe Acrobat is one such application. It will allow you to set permissions, track changes, and eliminate read/write conflicts. Yet another way that you can save paper: whenever you need to photocopy a document, you can use the double-side technique and avoid having to use a cover sheet when faxing.

Energy-Saving Techniques to Lower Utility Bills:

Turn off lights, computers, printers, and fax machines. Better still, for overhead fluorescent lights, install motion sensors so the lights will go off when the occupant takes a break or goes to lunch.

Unplug shredders before leaving your business and when they are not in use. Turning appliances off is not enough. Electronic devices such as TVs, computers and phone chargers can still use trickle electricity if they remain plugged.

Reusing and Refurbishing:

The use of a reusable coffee filter can be cost-effective and make a great impact to the environment in the long run due to not clogging the land fill unnecessarily. You can find them in virtually any grocery store today or get one here.

Furthermore, you may want to contract with companies that specialize in refurbishing office chairs and furniture. New furniture is expensive to begin with and often business-related purchases pay a premium since both parties know the cost is deductible. It's hardly fair but that's the world we live in.

Educate People about Water Usage:

Perform a plumbing check-up on your office space. Let your staff know about how to turn off faucets properly when they are done. Just one drop of dripping water per second wastes about 833 gallons per month. It quickly adds up.

The Washington State Department of Ecology recommends looking for the WaterSense Label when purchasing new products that use water.

Educate your Staff on the Importance of Recycling:

Many people are still not aware of the great damage a simple leaking battery or prolonged lead exposure can cause to your brain and kidneys. The newer compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which is a toxic element.

People need to be informed on how to get rid of these items properly and safely. In most areas, office supply stores and even Walmart offer free recycling services by placing dedicated drop-off containers inside the store.

Download green tips and recycling ideas to email your staff. Try to change the use of regular batteries to rechargeable batteries and make a battery charger available to all. Label a special battery box in your business and encourage employees to use it. AA batteries are the most popular and AA and AAA solar battery chargers are a convenient way to stay on top of things.

Often, when people or business start going green, they believe they need lots of resources to implement it, which is far from being true. I strongly urge you to start with small changes, which will become big changes over time.

I urge you to share with other businesses what you are doing. When you initiate good actions for the environment (and in many cases your bottom line, it can be contagious. It can also open doors for business opportunities, but don’t forget the major reason why you are doing is environmental awareness. This is a classic win-win.

Making your home business more eco-friendly is an easy way to transform your business model and save money in the long run.

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