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Since 1970, the world has celebrated Earth Day each year on April 22nd. Globally, people are becoming increasingly aware of the effects their actions have on the environment and consumers are turning more and more to businesses that environmentally responsible. If you’re wondering what your company can do to help, read on to learn how you can make a difference. Even the smallest of businesses can have an impact. Here’s how you can do your part:
Go as Paperless as Possible
A recent study found that the average American office worker uses a sheet of paper every 12 minutes! While it may not be feasible for your company to go completely paperless, there are ways to significantly cut down on paper usage. Consider using e-signature software for sending and signing contracts and using cloud storage for documents and files. If you must print something, use the preview function to ensure you only print out the necessary sheets and use both sides of the paper whenever you can. Other ways you can help are to enroll in paperless billing and to switch any magazine or newspaper subscriptions to the electronic versions.
Set Up an Office Recycling Station
If your office doesn’t already have a recycling station, now is a good time to create one. You can make a big difference by separating paper, plastics, cans, and bottles. Make sure the station is easy to access and clearly visible to all employees. See if you can enlist the help of your most environmentally conscious employees to help you educate the other office members on how to properly sort and dispose of their recyclables and trash.
Get Rid of Disposable Cups, Plates, and Water Bottles
Ditch those single-use paper products and plastic water bottles and encourage employees to use reusable ones instead. Depending on your budget and the size of your company you could even purchase coffee mugs for each employee or refillable water bottles that they can use while in the office. Stocking your lunch area or office kitchen with washable dishes, cups, and utensils will make a significant impact on helping reduce waste.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Use Earth Day as a reminder to analyze your office’s energy consumption and see if you can figure out ways to become greener. You can use this checklist from energystar.gov to help you get started and evaluate different energy-saving measures you can take. A few simple ideas are replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED ones, installing programmable thermostats, maintaining your HVAC equipment to make sure it’s functioning at maximum efficiency, or installing weather-stripping to ensure office windows are airtight. Additionally, remind your employees to turn off lights and computers when they leave for the day.
There are always local park, beach, or community cleanups taking place. Not only will you be helping the environment, but it also provides an opportunity for team building. Here are a few resources to help you find a neighborhood event near your business:
Earthday.org Cleanups: https://cleanup.earthday.org/pages/find-a-cleanup
Arbor Day Foundation: https://www.arborday.org/partnerships/
National River Cleanup: https://www.americanrivers.org/make-an-impact/national-river-cleanup/volunteers/
The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/volunteer-and-attend-events/
Remember, if you can’t find an event in your area, you can easily organize your own!
Make Every Day Earth Day
Every small change makes a difference in reducing your business’s carbon footprint, so stay motivated and keep encouraging your employees. It’s great to be enthusiastic about Earth Day, but it’s even better to keep these initiatives going 365 days a year!
For more small business resources from SBG Funding, click here.
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