The markets may be enduring their own patch of stormy weather, but the greening of America goes on. To promote your own green agenda, we offer you some simple tips that can help your business increase profits while cutting pollution and waste.
Before you read them, though, consider that these suggestions are far more important than they might at first appear. Nearly one in every three Americans considers a company's environmental profile when making a purchase. Maybe it's time to strategically adopt some of these green solutions and let your clients and customers know.
Shining The (Energy-Saving) Light
Replacing just one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb will save you $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb, according to Energystar.com. CFLs use about 75 percent less energy, and the eco-friendly lights last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. They also release less heat, which reduces air conditioning costs.
If every American family replaced just one incandescent light bulb, CO2 emissions would drop by more than 90 billion pounds -- the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road, according to Sierra Club statistics. Use CFLs at the office and save the planet while saving money.
Screen Savers Aren't What They Seem
Leaving your computers on all night sucks energy from the grid and dollars from your pockets. More than $1 billion worth of electricity is wasted annually simply because computers are left on at night, according to Sierra Club statistics. Don't be fooled; screen savers aren't sufficient energy savers. Instead, you can reduce computer energy use by 70 percent by setting them to automatically "go to sleep" during short breaks.
Are You Flushing Profits Away?
Okay, so the standard lavatory isn't the first thing that comes to mind in terms of saving money and preserving the planet. But, your company can save hundreds of dollars per year by using low-flush, or even something called no-flush urinals. That may sound like a bad name -- don't go to mental images here -- but they work, they aren't gross, and just one of them will save 45,000 gallons of water a year. You may want to do an online search for "no-flush" facilities to see how you can keep from, well, flushing away your hard-earned margins
Just Like Printing Money
The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year -- or slightly more than one tree's worth of material. The average tree yields just under 8,500 sheets of paper, according to Conservatree.com.
You can easily cut down on costs and paper waste -- and prevent the needless leveling of trees -- by utilizing email, printing on both sides of the sheet, and purchasing recycled paper rather than stocking 100 percent uncoated virgin paper.
If you're still not convinced, consider how much more you'll save on the ridiculously high price of printing cartridges and toners. Also, try using the less expensive remanufactured toner cartridges. Office Depot reports that one remanufactured toner cartridge "keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills ... and conserves about a half gallon of oil." Remanufactured cartridges work the same as brand new out-the-box cartridges, yet reduce waste due to their recycled components.
Junk Mail Piles Up
The chances are that every business, small or large, receives some type of unwanted mail that goes straight into the waste bin. Making it a point to contact those organizations and request to be removed from their mailing list can halt this unwanted task.
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Refuse
Incorporating some simple habits into your daily life can help with the goals of the four R's.
Recycle more than paper products. Recycling ink cartridges, plastic water bottles, and aluminum cans are important steps toward helping save the environment. But, hey, we're just getting started. You can also recycle outdated office equipment like computers, fax machines, telephones, and more.
Reduce. Consider your costs before printing out emails and other documents.
Reuse. Whenever possible reuse bottles. Instead of reaching for a new bottle of water, consider taking a reusable eco-friendly water bottle with you.
Refuse. Companies often send direct mailers to consumers with special offers and promotions. Avoid accepting offers in the mail and request to accept them only via email.
Save Money, Gain Clients
Not only will these green changes help your business save money and stop the release of harmful pollutants into the environment, they may also attract more clients. The survey that found that one-third of American consumers care about a company's environmental stance is an eye-opener. Our advice is go green and brag about it. Why not? Everybody wins and the environment benefits.
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