7 Easy Ways You Can Go Green for Earth Day and Beyond
2016 marks the 46th year that we’ve celebrated Earth Day, a day that started with some not quite humble beginnings as 20 million Americans took to the streets in massive rallies from coast to coast. Today Earth Day is celebrated by over a billion people in 192 countries, some even extending the celebration across a whole week. Many of us have already taken that first step to go green, by using reusable bags when grocery shopping, bringing a travel mug when getting morning coffee or changing out incandescent bulbs for LED’s. There’s no shortage of ways to go green and many households and companies are jumping on the bandwagon as they find that going green is not only good for the environment but also for the bottom line. Here are a few easy ways your business can go green for today, tomorrow and years to come.
1. Change a light bulb or 10
If you haven’t already done this for your company, make the switch to a more energy efficient light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out as their more energy conscious alternatives CFL’s and LED’s become the norm in homes and businesses around the world. There are some pros and cons between CFL’s and LED’s and you may wish to try out a combination of them depending on your lighting needs. We like LED’s the most, they cost more to purchase but last much longer, are more energy efficient and don’t require any special handling as CFL’s do due to the mercury contained in the bulb. Replacing one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL can save up to $83 over the life of the bulb, now multiply that number by all the lamps and light fixtures in your business.
2. Host an E-waste drive
In each of our homes and business there are dozens of items that can’t be thrown out with our everyday trash; batteries, incandescent light bulbs, cell phones, printer toner and laptops are just a few examples. Host an E-waste recycling event at your business to encourage the proper disposal of these and other electronics, perhaps even consider having a bin on site all year round. Hosting such an event does require some know how, we recommend reaching out to the local sanitation department or a non profit to coordinate the event and ensure everything is properly sorted and recycled. E-waste drives are also a great way to promote your business in your community and allows you a chance to get to know some of your neighbors.
3. Go green with your suppliers (and customers)
When going green there’s no need to overhaul your entire supply chain and practices, you can make incremental changes that will add up in the long run. Ask your suppliers and customers about switching to digital invoices. If you get deliveries directly from your suppliers find out if they can start using reusable containers that you can return instead of cardboard boxes. Set goals with them for buying recycled, refurbished or used equipment or supplies whenever possible. Small changes can add up to big savings in the long run that can be good for your business, the environment and the balance sheet.
4. Less paper, more savings
The average office worker uses almost 10,000 sheets of paper a year, that’s a lot of paper! But thankfully there are some easy ways to cut down. Consider switching to storing your files in the cloud instead of filing cabinets. Encourage your staff to review documents on the computer, instead of printing them out to make edits. Email everyone that big PowerPoint presentation before the meeting and encourage them to bring their laptop or tablet instead of printing out copies to hand out. When you do print, encourage double sided printing to save paper, you can work with your tech support team to make it the default for all the printers in the office.
5. Add some green to your décor
One of the best ways to go green is to add some plants, they’re not just good for the environment, they’re good for your employees too. A 2010 study by the Nursery and Garden Industry in Australia found that office plants can reduce stress and negative feelings by as much as 60%. Another big benefit of plants is their ability to reduce air pollution and emit oxygen, all that clean air has been reported to reduce absenteeism and minor illness among employees. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry there are quite a few plants that do well in an office environment, some of our favorites are aloe, spider plants, cactus, succulents, ivy and the peace lily.
6. New windows add up to big savings
Did you know that windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to energy inefficiency, unfortunately’ they’re also really, really expensive to replace. If new windows aren’t an option, consider instead treating your windows with a low-emission glaze that reflects the heat rays from sunlight. Your office will stay cooler in the summer requiring less air conditioning use, adding up to big savings.
7. Stop the drips
One of the easiest ways to save money is to fix any water leaks. A faucet that leaks one drop of water a second can lead to over 3,000 galloons of water wasted a year, that’s a lot of water and money going down the drain. A new washer or gasket can be all you need to save hundreds of dollars and stop water waste, especially important if you’re located in one of the states currently going through a drought.
Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, just a few small changes can make a big difference on the environment and the bottom line. Interested fast tracking your company’s eco-consciousness? Give us a call to find out how LiftForward can help you get the funds you need for new windows, equipment or other energy efficient solutions.