7 Ways to Go Green in 2017

Recycling, reducing waste and lowering energy costs are just some of the options that businesses have to go a little “greener” in 2017. There are plenty of reasons for you to go green personally, but why would a business bother with it? After all, small businesses are all about the bottom line.

In reality, going green can have a big impact on your profits in more ways than you might think. It’s even a fundamental value many small businesses will flaunt to develop loyal customers.

You can lower you energy costs, which is a big portion of your overhead. Encouraging your employees to turn off lights and computers while on break or at the end of the day will produce big effects.

However, how do things like recycling or encouraging car pools help to save you money? They may not. In fact, they may actually make you money! Offering green technology at work is a great way for employers to attract talent and consumers. People are losing their loyalty for companies at the same time they’re increasing loyalty for themselves and their careers. Use what you can to keep them attracted to you and check out some cool, easy ideas for going green in 2014.

Lighting

Low cost lighting sounds like a dream; a very expensive dream. However, there are some pretty good options out there. Buying energy efficient light bulbs earns you a good kick-back, plus they can last about 30 years if you turn them off at night.

Outdoor lighting can be a good place to save money as well. Having your paths lined with solar powered outdoor lights reduces the number of flood lights you need to have. Bear in mind, flood lights can also be solar powered, but they may need a backup battery supply just in case.

Energy Saver

Are your employees leaving their lights on and their accessories plugged in? That not only wastes energy, it will do some serious damage to your monthly bills. Instead, provide incentive by offering prizes for the employee who saves the most energy. It doesn’t need to be much; a $10 gift card to a nearby restaurant or gas station should do the trick for this easy money saver.

Corporate can do their part as well. It’s 2017 and technology has come a long way. Many businesses are switching to geothermal for more efficient energy savings.

If you don’t want to do any prizes, encourage and educate your employees about saving energy. Ask them to turn off lights and computers for the half hour or hour they are away for lunch. See if they will unplug the cords for their phones, laptops and desk-top fans. If it’s easy to reach, unplug it for the evening. You’ll see the results by next month.

Lunch-Time

It may not always be reasonable or do-able, but try and set a day where the goal is for everyone to pack a lunch. Not only is it probably healthier than eating out, but it saves employees money and it helps reduce individual waste.

If you’d like to double the impact and increase productivity, ask employees to take lunch away from their desks. Better yet, ask them to take it outside. Giving your brain a break from constant exertion helps you to focus when you get back to work. It also helps prevent “burnout syndrome,” the newest workplace illness.

Recycle

If you don’t already, try recycling. Even if you only add one bin to the lunch room, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it’ll fill up. You’ll save even more if you give employees a waste paper bin. If you have a cleaning service that comes, they’ll simply take the recycling out with the trash.

If your employees do it they may have to take their bins out a little more often, but it gives them a chance to get away from their desks for a bit!

Products

Think about the products you use at the office on a regular basis, and then consider if there may be some greener options. How about your paper? Unless you’re sending mail to clients, recycled paper works just as well as regular.

You can find similar options for other papers (though I don’t recommend recycled toilet paper). You can, however, buy toilet paper and paper towels that do not have the cardboard center. Additionally, you can buy recycled packaging material, and there are many options available for office basics such as pens, pencils and folders.

Also, don’t fall victim to the ‘tech savvy’ display many businesses are trying to emulate these days. You don’t need to have five LCD’s displaying 3-4 company value messages. Instead, consider something more cost effective, like a banner stand that flaunts your businesses’ achievements.

Carpool

Encourage unusual transportation! Find out what the bus schedule is and tape it up in the break room. See if anyone would be interested in starting their own carpool with the business across the street. Find out who lives close by and see if they would like to start a cycling group. You’ll cut out gas costs, get everyone healthier and eliminate road rage.

One other advantage? You’ll know if anyone is going to be late or not before you get to the office.

Policies and Procedures

Check and see if there is anything written into your employees handbook that would help to create a green environment. If it’s not there, have a few lines added about it. Remember, your employees will mimic what they see from you. Lead them into a greener work environment by going green yourself.

Not everyone will be able to participate in all of these options. If your commute is an hour drive, you are not going to switch to a bicycle. Likewise, if you have a big meeting this afternoon, you may not always be able to get away from your desk for lunch. You can, however, try to make those instances the exception instead of the rule. Then end result will be more savings, happier employees, happier customers and a higher caliber of applicants. What are you waiting for?