“Is my business sustainable?” Every smart businessperson has asked themselves this question. Whether evaluating the health of a financial plan, current hiring practices, or marketing goals, considering the long-term viability of current strategies empowers us to secure a brighter future for our businesses, our clients, and our employees.
Evaluating the environmental sustainability of our offices also allows us to secure a brighter future for our planet.
Here are four cost-effective ways to make your business more eco-friendly, and just in time for Earth Day!
#1: Encourage green commuting.
The average American spends 400 hours commuting to work every year, resulting in $60 billion in fuel waste. Encourage employees to telecommute, use public transportation, bike, or carpool. Carpooling has been shown to save commuters money, foster positive work relationships, and has the potential to decrease traffic by up to 80%.
#2: Choose safer cleaning products.
American buildings consume 6 billion pounds of chemicals and 30 million trees worth of sanitary paper every year. Most cleaning products use petroleum, a limited and nonrenewable natural resource that leaves a significant carbon footprint. Brands like Method, Honest, Norwex, and NatureClean use non-toxic and all-natural ingredients to sanitize without harmful chemicals.
#3: Buy ethically-sourced coffee.
Most employees use coffee to fuel their work throughout the day. Few know that their cup of Arabica could be fueling human trafficking. Human rights violations and modern-day slavery are incredibly prevalent in the coffee and tea industry. Even major brands like Nestle admit that beans from slave labor often end up in their blends. Before purchasing coffee for the office, look beyond the Fairtrade label. Do your research. Make sure that products are 100% ethically sourced by adult workers laboring in humane conditions.
#4: Recycle your e-waste.
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste is any electronic device that is old, broken, or otherwise unusable. Beyond laptops and computers, E-waste includes televisions, DVD players, VCRs, stereos, cameras, tablets, and fax machines.
It takes 539 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to create just one computer. Only 12% of e-waste is ever recycled; most of the world’s unwanted electronics are piled up in landfills or burned, releasing toxic pollutants into the atmosphere.
Be intentional in recycling your office’s old tech. Recycling centers like IT Refresh offer responsible e-waste solutions for households, institutions, and commercial businesses large and small. Although e-waste recycling can cost money, local events like iPoint’s Flowers for Towers offer free electronic waste removal annually.
Choose business practices that are financially and environmentally sustainable. Making these four, simple changes will improve the health of your office and the health of our planet.