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16 ways to go green in your small business

By Samantha Garner | September 7, 2013

How to run an eco-friendly businessIf you’re starting a brand-new small business, then you can be a green, eco-friendly business right out of the gate. Any effort, no matter how seemingly small, can make a big difference to the environment and your reputation.

For example, Volvo dealerships boosted their eco-friendly reputation by offering Volvo-branded bicycles on loan to customers during vehicle repairs. The bicycles help to encourage travelling by bicycle more often, and are also cheaper for the dealerships to supply and service.

Not sure where to start? Here are 16 ideas you can use to be a more environmentally-conscious small business:

  1. Purchase energy efficient office products and equipment such as energy-saving light bulbs.
  2. Employing energy-efficient technology such as ENERGY STAR qualified products can help reduce emissions from power plants that produce energy.
  3. Purchase environmentally friendly office cleaning products.
  4. Reduce the amount of useless paper—try extra hard to run a paperless office. Forward by email, and proofread on the screen.
  5. Recycle paper products including newspapers, magazines, printer paper and grocery or other bags.
  6. Consider telecommuting, or running a virtual office.
  7. Recycle old computers and gadgets. Many Staples store locations participate in electronics recycling — you can drop your electronics off at some of their locations.
  8. Consider using materials that you can reuse or recycle. Implementing a waste reduction program helps cut down the amount of waste materials put in landfills or incinerated, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.
  9. Try to create a niche in the green market and produce or provide products and services that are environmentally-friendly.
  10. Buy biodegradable office supplies like pens, paper and file folders.
  11. If you can, drive company-owned hybrid vehicles.
  12. If you expand, look for a green building with features like solar energy, wind-turbine energy, or eco-friendly construction materials.
  13. Consider using green power and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass.
  14. Consider energy-efficient design for new construction and/or remodeling to utilize efficient equipment, while encouraging the use of natural energy sources.
  15. Encourage employees to get involved and help make the company more green.
  16. Let your customer know you are an environmentally conscious business—this is important for many customers today.
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