Whether you’re running a small business or working for a large corporation, there are ways that you can incorporate the environmental consciousness that you observe in your personal life into your professional environment. The changes you make could be large or small, and while it is certainly more effective to involve everyone in the office in making an effort on behalf of the Earth, you can work to make a difference all on your own if no one else is interested. So if you’re looking for a few ways to green up your business, here are some strategies you may want to try.
1. Start a recycling center. If you’ve petitioned for an office recycling program with little success, think about starting your own. Set up a bin in your cubicle and encourage coworkers to use it for the disposal of aluminum, plastic, and glass bottles. Then take these items to your local recycling center to turn in for cash, which you can use to treat contributors to pizza. Do this once and you will likely get a lot more people recycling! Of course, all you have to do if you manage your own small business is implement policies for recycling.
2. Do a waste assessment. If you’re a business owner, you can do this on your own or hire an independent auditor to come in and do an assessment for you. But if you are just a cog in the machine at a larger company, don’t despair! You can still find ways to cut back on waste in your own little corner of the corporate world by installing a CFL in your desk lamp, programming your computer to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity, and minimizing use of office supplies. You might even talk to your supervisor about taking the steps to make these actions part of office policy. Every little bit helps.
3. Suggest eco-friendly alternatives. Talk to your company about the benefits of implementing green initiatives. Not only can many of them save the company money; they will also impart corporate bragging rights that will improve brand image amongst the consumer public. Suggest low-flow toilets and aerated, sensor-controlled faucets in restrooms, CFLs to replace energy-draining incandescent bulbs, and hybrid or electric company cars (plus charging stations for employees who opt to drive plug-in vehicles).
4. Support green building. If you have your own business and you want to secure a green office space, then purchase or build a structure that is environmentally sound. This includes the use of green building materials (recycled materials or those that are locally mined, gathered, or created using eco-friendly practices), a construction company that promises less pollution and waste, alternative or minimal energy usage, and landscaping with native, drought-resistant plants.
5. Get green business cards. Sometimes the first impression of your business will be conveyed through your business card, so think about how you can make it greener. Use recycled paper products (that are themselves recyclable), non-toxic, soy-based inks, or make electronic business cards to send instantly to people you hope to network with. This is a great way to spread your message of eco-friendly living, even in the office environment.