An estimated 30 percent of all environmentally damaging greenhouse gases are produced by commercial and industrial businesses, Dummies.com says. These gases are a direct result of electricity use, transportation of products and the use of gasoline to power transportation. Luckily, commercial businesses of all sizes are recognizing the dramatic effect they have on the environment and in response, are developing more ecologically sound practices. Though an immediate overhaul of every aspect of a company’s carbon footprint is not only expensive but also unrealistic, businesses can start out by altering a few workplace habits.
To help, here are five tips on how to make nearly any company more sustainable and eco-friendly without compromising the productivity or functionality of daily business practices.
Repair, don’t replace
Whether it be equipment you are producing or equipment used in the office, offering replaceable components is greener than replacing an entire product. Replacing a faulty component in a copier, for example, is preferable to tossing the huge machine into a landfill. Having components you can replace yourself can save time, money and the environment. Components like o-rings, which are found in equipment ranging from copy machines and vacuums to airplanes and automobiles, should be readily accessible in case of the need for repair. There are numerous kinds of o-rings available for various products and projects, so choosing the appropriate o-ring from the beginning can alleviate the need for replacement due to damage or erosion.
If by chance that copy machine is beyond salvage, avoid the landfill yet again by donating it to a charity for parts. Donations are another means of environmental preservation where companies can cut down on different forms of waste. If your business has a cafeteria, food about to go to waste can be donated to feed needy families in your area. Your local food bank can offer guidelines on what is accepted. Organizations like Big Brother, Big Sisters will come pick up old electronics and small appliances no longer in use, and any donations made can be written off come tax season.
Reduce in-office energy usage
Small changes around the office can make a big impact ecologically. Though some companies go all-out on energy-efficient upgrades, an expensive overhaul is not necessary to make a difference. Simply replacing the office blinds or shades on the windows can reduce HVAC usage and costs. Speaking of HVAC, routine maintenance on the central heating and cooling system in the office can ensure that the unit is working properly and not squandering energy. Perhaps the simplest task that creates the most significant effect is switching from incandescent to energy-efficient light bulbs. LED light bulbs alone can save your company money, as they need to be replaced less frequently, and electricity, since they use less to light the same areas, says Inhabitant.com.
Promote working from home
In 2015, 27 percent of all greenhouse gases were produced by gasoline powered vehicles, says the EPA, so any endeavor that limits time spent or the number of people on the road will be appreciated by Mother Earth. A strategy from cutting down vehicular emissions is to encourage employees to work from home. Though employers may cringe at the idea of their staff not showing up to the office, high-speed broadband and virtual office tools now make working from home a viable option. When considering that the rate of energy consumption by office equipment in-house is twice that of energy consumption at home, allowing a few employees one or two days a week to work at home can make a big difference. Additionally, the elimination of commute time means less emissions and more time devoted to working.
Taking responsibility for your company’s carbon footprint does not have to be expensive or cumbersome. A few helpful tips and the desire to help can go along way in making a positive impression on the planet.