How to Become a Green Business – Part 5: Reusing What You Have
A green business (or sustainable business) is a business that causes no negative impact on the local or global environment, the community, or the economy. Green business is both socially and environmentally responsible and is focused on implementing principles and practices that benefit their employees, community, and the planet. Consumers may be particularly drawn to green business because of their reputation as companies that protect environmental resources, ensure the well-being of both employees and those who supply the company, and constantly revise their approaches to make them more aligned with sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Becoming green as a business is not a one-off change; it’s an ongoing endeavor that requires constant learning and improving.
PART 5: REUSING WHAT YOU HAVE
1. Identify reusable office supplies
Take a look around your business for items that you could easily reuse. It is probable that there will be many things, even ones you haven’t thought of before. By trying to reuse some of the items that are office necessities, you can become a greener business.Paper is a good place to start. While paper is easy to reuse and recycle, it constitutes about 35 percent of the world’s waste. In order to reuse paper, start a scrap bin so that people can use paper scraps rather than grabbing a fresh page each time they need to scribble a quick memo.
When possible, use chalkboards or whiteboards instead of poster boards or large sheets of paper during brainstorming sessions with your office. While you will have to purchase chalk and/or dry erase markers, you will save a lot of money by reducing your use of paper.
2. Place reusable items in your break room
This area is one which will probably be easy for you to improve the greenness of your company. For example, a simple and easy step to becoming greener is to stop supplying paper and plastic dishes and utensils. Purchase glass dishes and real silverware and encourage employees to use them and to clean them after use (and purchase dish soap and cleaning supplies that are biodegradable and free from any harmful chemicals!).Purchase reusable coffee filters and mugs for the morning coffee. Provide each employee with their own mug, and encourage them to keep it at work and use it each day.
For catering purposes, if washing up is not an option, choose disposable items made from corn, potatoes or other plant sources that break down in the compost instead of Styrofoam or standard paper plates.
3. Provide reusable water bottles
If you have a water jug in your workplace, reduce the use of disposable one-time-use cups by providing each employee with a plastic, glass, or stainless steel water bottle. Inspire company pride by getting your company name or logo printed on the bottle. Even if you don’t have a water jug, providing these water bottles will encourage your employees to bring less plastic water bottles.Ensure that these bottles are free of BPA and any other harmful chemicals.
4. Start an office supply exchange
Designate one area where people can drop off any excess office supplies or old equipment (for example, extra staplers, extra staples, extra pads of post-it notes, extra pens and pencils, etc.). Encourage your employees to donate what they can when they have extra supplies that they don’t need, and to browse the supply exchange area before asking for a purchase of new supplies.