Over the last five years, there’s been a 71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods worldwide. Consumers want to support businesses that care about the environment and don’t cause any more harm.
Finding green solutions for your company is a good business decision. But on a larger scale, it’s also your duty to do everything in your power to lessen the effects of climate change. There are so many organizations that are working on reducing the effect of climate change. People intersted in working towards climate change can even find international climate change jobs in such organizations
So, you want your business to go green. How on earth do you make that happen? Well, it’s all about finding lots of small solutions that will make a big difference.
This list has tons of green business solutions that you can apply to your company today.
1. Reduce and Recycle Packaging Waste
Regardless of your business model, every company has incoming and outgoing mail. You need to ensure your incoming mail gets disposed of in an eco-friendly way and that your outgoing mail is 100% recyclable.
Here is what you should do with different types of incoming packing materials:
- Cardboard = reuse or recycle
- Paper = reuse or recycle
- Bubble wrap = reuse
- Packing peanuts = reuse
- Packing tape = trash
Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and sticky tape are all non-recyclable. Whilst you can reuse the former two, the latter is a lost cause. Put two bins in your supply closet with labels for “bubble wrap” and “peanuts” so your employees can reuse these materials.
Switch to these green solutions when sending outgoing letters and packages:
- Biodegradable packing peanuts
- Corrugated cardboard strips as bubble wrap
- Recycled paper and cardboard
- Recycled parcel bags
- Water soluble labels
- Biodegradable sticky tape
Phase out anything made out of plastic or polystyrene.
2. Donate to Eco Charities and Offset Carbon
No matter how many green solutions you apply to your business, you will still create some carbon emissions that you need to offset. That’s why you should find a solution to offset the carbon your business produces.
There are carbon capture calculators you can use to estimate how much you need to offset. You can figure out how to capture carbon by using a company that plants trees or uses machines to remove that carbon from the air.
You could also make donations to eco charities too. Here are some suggestions:
- Habitat for Humanity
- Friends of the Earth
- Rainforest Alliance
- Ocean Conservancy
Not only is this a moral practice but it’s good PR for your business too. You could donate a percentage of your profits or give lump sums. Get your employees involved by encouraging them to fundraise and offering to match their donations.
3. Switch to a Green Web Hosting Service
Most people don’t think about the energy they’re using if they can’t see it. But if you run an online business, the servers you use to deliver your website are part of your carbon footprint too.
Consider switching your web hosting company to one that has green practices. See if they’re on the B-Corp list or have any information on their website.
4. Schedule an Energy Audit for Your Office
Unless you run a remote or online business, you likely have an office, store, or workshop. Book an energy auditor to do an analysis of your building to check its energy efficiency. They will find where you waste energy and suggest green solutions specific to your situation.
Auditors will assess the building’s insulation, heat, and cooling systems. They will also assess how you light the building. Suggestions they may make include:
- Switching to LED lightbulbs
- Insulating attic space
- Installing solar panels to the roof
- Sealing drafts in windows and doors
- Hanging curtains or blinds
- Install motion-sensor lights
- Investing in smart thermostats
Even if you work in a rented building, you could still make cosmetic changes. Or, you could pass along the report to the landlord and ask them to consider improving the building. If they won’t, consider moving to a different workspace.
5. Use Energy and Water Saving Appliances
Modern technology is far more energy efficient now than it was even one decade ago. If your appliances are due an update, consider switching them to energy-efficient models.
Here are some appliances you may have around the office you could update:
- Phone systems
- Coffee machine
- Hand driers
Please note that you shouldn’t trash all your working appliances for brand-new ones. This wouldn’t be environmentally friendly at all! You can also add water filters and devices to your taps so that the water flows slower.
6. Recycle and Use Second Hand Electronics
What can you do with old electronic equipment? Recycle it, of course! Contact your local landfill or recycling plant to see if they do electronic pickups.
Even if your equipment doesn’t work, many companies will strip the machines for parts.
You should also consider buying second-hand electronic equipment. As long as it is modern and energy-efficient, this is a greener solution.
You can find excellent “scratch and dent” equipment that companies can’t sell “new” due to cosmetic problems. Or, you can check eBay for refurbished computers.
7. Use Power from Renewable Energy Sources
It’s great to use energy-efficient appliances but not if you’re powering them with fossil fuels. Research your gas and electricity provider to see if they use renewable energy sources. If they don’t, consider switching to one that uses 100% renewable sources.
Renewable energy sources include solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, and bio. Even nuclear energy is better than coal or oil.
8. Cut Down on Paper Usage
Going paperless is an old but good green solution that you should apply to your business if you haven’t already. Start by swapping paper towels for hand driers and switching a sign-in book to a tablet.
Encourage your employees to use whiteboards to brainstorm in meetings instead of flipcharts. Ask them to write notes on their tablets and laptops instead of notebooks. Avoid sending letters when you can send emails instead.
For the instances when you cannot avoid using paper, ensure it’s recycled paper.
9. Encourage Reusable Containers
Single-use plastic is one of the worst things for the environment. Encourage your employees to forgo using it by providing them with reusable alternatives.
You could get them all branded water bottles and takeaway coffee cups. Provide multi-use Tupperware boxes and labels to store food in. After a grace period, put a permanent ban on single-use plastic cups and bottles from the office.
10. Build Convenient Recycling Stations
One of the main reasons why many offices aren’t green is because the green solutions aren’t convenient. Most workers will only take part in the new changes if they are easy to follow. If there isn’t a recycling bin nearby but there is a trash can, they will use the trash can instead.
Combat this issue by ensuring there are recycling bins next to every trash can in your workplace. Put them in bathrooms, kitchens, by the front door, and other high-traffic places.
Teach everyone exactly what can and cannot go into the recycling bin. Ensure you have bins for paper, plastic, metal, glass, and food waste.
11. Consider Going Remote
After the pandemic, many businesses realized that they didn’t need a physical office. Their employees were as productive as they were in co-working spaces and their home offices as they were in the old workspace. If this is a viable option, consider making your business 100% remote.
This will cut down the energy and materials you use by a considerable amount. If you cannot go 100% remote, you might still be able to downsize.
12. Ask Your Employees for Their Ideas
Applying tons of green solutions to your business means asking your employees to make lots of changes. Some of these changes, like using recycled paper, will make little difference to their lives. But they will likely have an opinion or concerns about going remote or using different equipment.
Include your employees in your plans and ask them for their advice. They might be more than willing to play a bigger role in your efforts to go green.
If they’re willing, your employees could:
- Start a cycling commute club
- Look after plants around the office
- Grow vegetables on a roof or terrace garden
- Start beekeeping on a roof or terrace garden
- Upcycle second-hand office furniture
You could even offer bonuses or other incentives to employees that take part in these green practices. The more you can help your entire company get on board, the better your work environment will be.
Green Solutions for a Brighter Future
Making so many changes to the day-to-day running of your business shouldn’t happen overnight. But if you keep applying green solutions step-by-step, it won’t be long before you have a 100% eco-friendly business.
Want to make more changes in your company to make it more ethical and efficient? Browse our business articles for more ideas and expert tips.