How to Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly (If You Don’t Know Where to Start)

Many business owners are open to the idea of making their businesses more environmentally friendly, and others are enthusiastic about the prospect. But enthusiasm and interest can’t help you much if you don’t know where to begin.

Thankfully, even small changes and decisions can add up to have a significant impact on your business’s overall environmental contributions, and help you achieve all the extra benefits you’ve wanted.

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The Perks of Environmental Friendliness

If you’re not sure why you should be interested in an environmentally friendlier business, consider these important perks:

  • Positive environmental changes. Climate change is already impacting Earth’s ecosystems, and it’s not the only environmental problem we’re facing. While one business can’t make a difference alone, millions of businesses each making a positive contribution can culminate in a massive positive change.
  • Cost savings. Many environmentally friendly practices are also energy- or resource-efficient, meaning they’ll save you money in the long-term.
  • Long-term preparation. Some pro-environment changes will become mandatory eventually. Committing to those changes now will make it easier to adapt.
  • Public perceptions. Businesses working to improve their environmental friendliness are more highly regarded by the general public, which can increase sales or drive more interest in employment opportunities.

Making Positive Changes

These important changes can all improve your environmental friendliness:

  1. Commit to ongoing maintenance and regular checks. Ongoing maintenance can help you detect small problems, which might contribute to using more energy or producing more waste. For example, even small instances of wear and tear, like worn couplers, can make an environmental impact. Changing filters, cleaning out air ducts, and replacing old and worn parts regularly can all improve your business’s efficiency.
  2. Upgrade your heating and cooling systems. Heating and cooling are two of the most energy-intensive processes a business will utilize, so it’s important that your HVAC system is upgraded with the latest efficiency standards. Newer HVAC units tend to use energy much more efficiently than their older counterparts, and they cost less to operate as well. It may cost a bit of money to make the upgrade, but it will be worth it.
  3. Reduce (or eliminate) paper products. Obviously, paper products rely on trees, which are a natural resource that could eventually be depleted. Anything you can do to reduce your reliance on paper products is valuable. It’s possible to go paperless, but this is a challenge for most businesses due to office needs like paper towels, toilet paper, and paper cups. Instead, try to go digital with as many paper processes as you can, and lower your use of paper products elsewhere.
  4. Recycle (and use recycled goods). In a similar vein, you can use your business to prioritize purchasing recycled goods over non-recycled counterparts; they probably won’t cost much more (or might be even cheaper), and they’ll reduce your consumption of new materials. While you’re at it, make recycling easy for yourself and your team to encourage it consistently.
  5. Swap out any old light bulbs. If you have any old, incandescent light bulbs in your office or retail storefront, swap them out immediately. Fluorescent and LED light bulbs are brighter, last longer, and are ridiculously more energy efficient. They cost more per bulb, but have many times the usual lifespan.
  6. Install alternative energy. If you have the budget for it, consider installing a mode of alternative energy on your location. For example, you might install a solar panel on your roof, or build a wind turbine on your property if you have enough space. Any clean energy you pursue will reduce your energy costs and consumption.
  7. Encourage alternative transportation. Vehicles are one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, so anything you can do to reduce the need for vehicles will be valuable. For some businesses, that might mean going fully remote or enabling employees to work from home occasionally. For others, that might mean sponsoring public transportation passes, starting a carpool, or encouraging people to bike to work.
  8. Volunteer. You can also go outside the workplace and volunteer for an environmentalist cause. For example, you could arrange for your team to clean up litter in a park, or plant a community garden to encourage more locally sustainable farming practices. Volunteer work is a good opportunity to meet like-minded people, and can provide a foundation for team bonding between your employees.

You aren’t required to do all or any of these strategies, but each one can positively change your business’s total environmental impact, especially as the effects begin to compound over a series of years. Considering many of these changes will save you money in the long-term as well, there’s no reason not to get started.