While April 22 is traditionally marked as Earth Day, all of April is set aside as Earth Month, a time to review and reflect on the different ways we can celebrate and protect the environment — and that includes at your business.
Following are eight ways you can try and improve your company’s green game and lower your overall environmental impact:
1. Conduct a Green Audit — A great first way to start is an examination of where you are at on your overall environmental commitment; go through your entire facility or operations and make a list of all the current ways you are doing environmentally friendly things. Note every recycling effort, each energy consumption reduction tool, etc. — Once you have an overall list of what you are doing, make an additional pass through and create a second list of additional efforts you could do. Having an accurate starting point will help you track your progress towards a greener workplace.
2. Use Your Employees’ Expertise — You might not realize some of your employees are eco warriors at home, creating innovative ways and tools to lead a greener life. Conduct a survey amongst all employees asking them for their favorite at-home green living tip and look for ideas you can implement in your workplace. You can make it a fun contest where the employee with the best tip wins an Earth-friendly prize such as a composting kit or recycled tote bags.
3. Join a “Buy Nothing” Group — Facebook has proven itself useful in a number of business applications and marketing opportunities, but it is also a great way to connect with your local community. Many areas have one (or sometimes several) ‘Buy Nothing’ groups, where members share information about goods or items they are looking to trade or acquire. Next time you have something from the office you are looking to dispose of (unused inventory for example), consider posting to a Buy Nothing group versus adding those items to the landfill or other storage facilities – a great example of practicing the ‘reuse’ part of the recycling mantra within your local community.
4. Identify Your Local Resources — Your city, county and state likely all have an office of sustainability which can be a great resource for information on special programs, incentives and offers designed to support businesses in your area. A quick web search will find these departments and a list of tools available to business owners; identify subsidized programs you can participate in or attend an upcoming educational session on new offers in your region.
5. Start an “Unplug It” Campaign — This is a tip that can benefit both your workplace and home — Some of the biggest overall energy sucks are appliance ‘vampires’ — Electronic devices or appliances that are constantly plugged in, even while not in use. Through your company’s intranet or internal communications tools such as e-blasts, bulletin boards or paycheck stuffers if appropriate, create a campaign throughout the month of April to encourage everyone to take a look around their area and unplug any devices not in use. Reducing your number of energy vampires will not only lower your overall electric bills, but also reduce overall strain on the energy grid, helping to ensure consistent electricity delivery even in high demand periods.
6. Go Green — Literally! — It may seem simple, but look at increasing plant life in your office or work environment. Green plants are great ways to clean the air inside a facility and increase oxygen while reducing carbon dioxide and other pollutants. A trip to your local nursery can you help you identify the best easy-care options for your unique environment.
7. Invest in Branded Reusable Beverage Containers — If you haven’t already done so, spend some marketing budget towards branded refillable water bottles, coffee tumblers and other cups that can be used around the office and beyond. Encouraging all employees to use refillable versus single-use items is a great way to reduce contributions to local landfills while also increasing your brand viability and footprint outside your office walls.
8. Stop the Presses! — Unnecessarily printing copies of reports, emails, presentations and files creates mounds of paper waste that is then unusable for other things and must go into a recycling bin. With paper production worldwide putting a strain on global forests, simply attempting to reduce the amount of paper you use on a daily basis is a great way to protect Mother Earth. Instead of printing and sharing copies of everything, work on upgrading your digital tools such as Acrobat, Zoom, Google Drive and others to give others the ability to see a document or presentation without having to actually print it out – The Earth will thank you!