An Eco-Friendly Checklist to Help Your Business Go Green

Green Office Tips

From major retailers to small home-based offices, the trend of transitioning from a business model that overlooks traditionally common expenses to one that is more eco-friendly, has been on a notable rise.

Nowadays, going green is not just the socially responsible thing to do for the environment; it’s also an essential element for boosting the bottom-line of your business through resource conservation.

When planning your green office guidelines, consider focusing on five core areas. These areas include the reduction, reuse, and recycling of existing office materials and purchases, energy use, water conservation, transportation, and general meeting and/or event costs.

The Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When it comes to office waste, there are three areas of concern that you should look at for guidelines when planning to go green: Paper costs, common area costs, and a recycling program.

Reduce Paper:

  • Set printers to print internal documents double sided.
  • Reduce margins to allow for more text per page.
  • Avoid printing unnecessary documents.
  • Reuse misprints for scrap paper by cutting it down into ¼ page note pads.
  • Reuse envelopes and boxes whenever possible.
  • Eliminate using labels for envelopes.
  • Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive
  • Train associates to work on drafts electronically and to use the “print preview” screen.

Reduce Common Area Cost:

  • Purchase recycled office paper.
  • Make a point to buy recycled toner and ink cartridges.
  • Purchase eco-friendly/green cleaning supplies.
  • Avoid excessive packaging, always buy in bulk.
  • Be sure to purchase rechargeable batteries.
  • Eliminate all paper plates, cups, and disposable utensils.
  • Purchase mugs or ask associates to bring in their own reusable mugs for beverages.

Employ a Recycling Program:

  • Post recycling participation guidelines throughout the office
  • Install various recycling bins next to trash containers for easy use.
  • Install specific bins for electronics, ink cartridges, and rechargeable batteries.

Energy Use:

Energy costs go beyond the monthly billing. The byproducts of wasteful practices have led to huge consequences internationally. A good plan of attack for a green office is to adjust office equipment, update light fixtures, and adopt an overall energy efficient attitude. This process might look like the following:

Adjust office equipment:

  • Set all computers and monitors to go to standby when not in use.
  • Set all peripherals like printers, fax machines, or copiers to go into energy saving mode or simply turn them off when they’re not in use.
  • Eliminate screen savers and update all monitors to more efficient LCD screens.

Improve lighting usage:

  • Replace old incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs wherever possible.
  • Install sensors or signage that reminds anyone leaving a room to turn off the lights.

Plan ahead for energy efficiency:

  • Turn off all power strips at the end of the day to eliminate overnight power draw.
  • Set thermostats timers to shut down during non-operating hours.
  • Install energy efficient window coverings.

Water Conservation:

  • Install faucet aerators and low-flow toilets whenever applicable.
  • Fix leaks as soon as they are discovered to avoid additional issues.
  • Check with your local water department for regional conservation tips and regulations.

Transportation:

  • When it comes to company automobiles, be sure to purchase fuel efficient models.
  • Always use mapping to avoid wasteful routing.
  • Encourage employees to either carpool with one another, walk, or ride a bike to the office.
  • Offer employees an incentive if they use public transportation.
  • Employ the use of more technologically advance meeting alternatives like videoconference meetings, communication via internet faxing, or webinars.

Meeting and Events Planning:

It is inevitable that you are going to either need to hold a meeting, want to throw an appreciation event, or simply put on a business building social event. The more these are held the more planning ahead can save you in the end. Plus, by going the extra mile and using eco-friendly products, you’ll have something to inspire your attendees about your efforts.

Event planning:

  • Offer organic or fair-trade produced coffee.
  • Use locally grown and organic food whenever possible.
  • Offer condiment dispensers instead of individual serving packages.
  • Use compostable recycled napkins.
  • Eliminate food waste with proper planning and donate left over’s.
  • Employ electronic advertisements and digital invites.
  • If printed materials are required be sure to use recycled paper.
  • Reuse old banners and signs from past events.
  • Be sure to offer information about alternate transportation options to all events.