Despite the downturn, entrepreneurs are still worried about the environment, so they are asking green vendors for competitive pricing. Small business owners aren't willing to sacrifice their firms' health to go green.

A recent survey of 202 firms by online payroll firm PayCycle found that three out of four entrepreneurs find eco-friendly vendors more appealing, but only at the same price and level of service.

"Clearly, having their business be profitable and survive is a top most goal, so all things being equal, they will make a green choice, but they're not willing to pay more," said Jane Willis, PayCycle's vice president of branded business.

Most small business owners consider environmental issues equally as important as the economy, in spite of the worst recession in generations, however. The study found that 63 percent said they were just as concerned about the environment as the economy. Eighty-eight percent of owners think it's important for their businesses to be green, and 84 percent consider themselves at least "occasional" environmentalists.

Willis attributes concerns to the growing consensus on the dangers of global warming. "In the past, the focus was on things like picking up litter and clean air and water, which seemed like issues that could take a backseat to a tough economy, but global warming has been accepted as a pressing concern," she said.

"They really feel a mandate to take action to save the planet for our kids," she added.

Instead of paying more for green solutions, owners are turning to eco-conscious measures that also save them money, including reducing waste and making smarter consumer choices like high efficiency appliances and low watt light bulbs.

Willis said previous polls also showed companies switching to online services as an eco-friendly measure.