You're a good person who is as keen as the next not to trash the planet, but let's be honest, as an entrepreneur you already have a lot on your plate. Business is tight, customers are demanding, and your family is always top of mind. That doesn't leave too much mental bandwidth (or money) to worry about how to go green at your company.
No worries, responds a recent Treehugger blog post aimed at business owners. There are plenty of easy steps even the most harried bosses can take to make sure their company has a smaller negative impact on the environment. A number of them will even save you some money.
Some of these ideas, we know, are probably familiar and may not work for you: If you could bike or carpool to work, for instance, chances are you're already doing it. Other suggestions are opportunities to go green that may be hiding in plain sight, such as the following.
Mind That Electric Bill
Being just a little more careful about how much power your gadgets are using is good for not only your monthly electric bill but also mother earth. When's the last time you checked the power settings on your devices? And how about plugging your electronics into a power strip with an Off switch so you can easily turn them all the way off each night (standby still draws electricity)? "Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver," says Treehugger.
Aim for Paperless…
As we've reported here on Inc.com, you'll be in good company as more and more businesses try to keep their offices dead-tree free out of kindness for our forests as well as simplicity and cost savings for you. Will you ever manage to go 100% digital? Maybe not, but the less paper you use the better for you (and the earth).
"New software like Greenprint helps eliminate blank pages from documents before printing and can also convert to PDF for paperless document sharing," Treehugger adds.
…And If You Can't
No matter how hard they try, most businesses will never be 100% paperless. If you're among them, you can ensure you're as green as possible by thoughtfully choosing the paper you do use. "When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching," says Treehugger.
Work From Home
Not only is the occasional day of telecommuting a cheap perk to offer staff, working from home has the pleasant side effect of being pretty good for the planet, too. Or, if you're willing and able to consider a more radical way to take advantage of the environmental benefits of skipping your commute, "consider the possibility of working four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days (a consolidated workweek), cutting the energy and time spent on commuting by 20% and giving you some lovely three-day weekends," suggests Treehugger. The earth, as well as your staff, will thank you (especially in the summer).
Be Thoughtful About Furnishings
Every desk chair is not created equal. Buying office furniture that's been thoughtfully designed can mean a big bonus for the planet at virtually no hassle to you. "Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Herman Miller and Steelcase are two groundbreaking companies that have adopted the Cradle-to-Cradle protocol for many of their office chairs," notes Treehugger.
Simple changes to lighting can also offer big benefits. "Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescents and there is an ever-growing selection of high-end LED desk lamps that use miniscule amounts of energy," says Treehugger. Or better yet, aim for spaces filled with natural light. "Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction," reports the site.
Do you have any other ideas to add to the list?