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Today, we're excited to share a guest post from our friends at Kabbage, all about small businesses going green.
As a small business owner, you probably struggle with the stress that accompanies running a company. However, you might be overlooking an important necessity for your business: going green. Incorporating environmentally-friendly business practices helps the environment, your conscious and your small business. Here are six ways you can start greening up your business.
1. Use LED/CFL lighting and motion-sensors.
Standard bulbs might be cheaper, but they use more energy and contain mercury and other toxic gases. LED/CFL lighting lasts longer than standard bulbs, which ultimately saves you cash in the long-run (as well as helping the environment!). Motion-sensors are also a great way to save energy. If your team leaves for a meeting and forgets to turn off the lights, that’s energy and money wasted. Motion-sensors can help keep both down!
2. Work with green partners.
If your business uses a vendor or is looking for partners for expansion, consider green vendors or local vendors. For instance, why order office supplies from a factory across the country when you can support your local business by ordering from them? You’re helping your community as well as cutting down air pollution from the gas of large trucks. Green vendors also offer green products, sometimes at a discounted rate if you partner with them. Incorporating and using green products at your business can get you in the habit of thinking green, which you can incorporate into your personal life as well!
3. Rethink your use of paper and plastic.
Every office has paper cups or plastic bottles, with the latter being one of largest litter issues in the country. In the U.S. alone, 2 million water bottles are used every 5 minutes. That’s a lot of plastic! To reduce this waste, buy reusable cups, mugs and bottles. Brand them with your logo to make it fun! Encourage your employees to bring in their own reusable containers and avoid using wasteful products. For those who refuse to budge, ensure that these paper and plastics are recycled.
4. Use green transportation methods.
Encourage your employees to think green when coming to work. For example, you could cover the costs of monthly cards for employees who use public transit instead of driving to work. You could also create a company-wide email chain to see if employees could carpool. Of course, include yourself in this list! If you or your employees can bike to work, install a bike rack or a bike storage room where they can safely store their bikes during the work day. These methods can help reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
5. Offer your customers rewards for being green.
To become an even more environmentally friendly business, you’ll want to expand your green practices to your customer base. Offer rewards for customers who incorporate green practices in their lives. For example, give a discount, coupons or giveaways for customers who use paperless receipts/billing, or host a social media contest to see how customers have made green changes in their lives (picking a winner at random or picking the person who has reduced the most waste). If you own a brick-and-mortar, have a green day in which customers who bring in recyclables, purchase green products, bring in reusable bags or use paperless receipts get a discount on their total costs for the day.
6. Research eco-friendly websites.
By becoming more environmentally sound, you’re helping the planet you live on as well as your small business. Eco-friendly websites will want their readers knowing which businesses are also eco-friendly. That way, their readers can shop there instead of environmentally wasteful businesses. Once you’ve become a greener business, you can reach out to these sites to let them know you’d like to be featured. These sites can also provide you with more innovative ways to make your small business even greener!
Amidst the stress of owning and running a company, small businesses should remember to take care of the environment. Implementing some, if not all, of these ideas can jumpstart your business into greener practices. Of course, don’t stop just at these six. As you expand, try to find even more ways your small business can be green. You’ll be helping the environment as well as your business and conscious.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes and playing with her cat and chinchilla.