6 DIY Sustainable Upgrades to Make Your Business Environmentally Friendly
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, the dream is to sell your product and make a difference in the world. While you’re doing that, you can also help the planet by making your company as sustainable as possible. While you might like to install solar panels or gut your office building to make it more eco-friendly, you may not have the skills or money to pull it off. The good news is that there are many DIY eco-friendly upgrades that you can make around the office that can start your path toward sustainability. The six steps below are an excellent way to start.
The first step to going all in on a sustainability plan is to understand that by updating your business, you are doing your part to reverse a negative trend in commercial business, which is that they are a major contributor to climate change. Many commercial businesses use fossil fuels to operate and make their products. When fossil fuels are burned, they release nitrogen oxides into the air that create smog. These greenhouse gasses trap heat in our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Recent findings show that 100 of the largest companies are responsible for 71% of the global emissions that hurt our planet.
Although incorporating sustainable upgrades in your small business won’t completely eradicate the problem, by doing your part, you can influence other companies to do the same. You will be part of a growing movement. Many companies are looking into changing how they operate, including looking into resilient design. This strategy involves constructing buildings and office spaces that are more resilient to natural disasters, which often occur due to climate change. By building better foundations and using durable materials like concrete or steel that can withstand storms, the buildings can last longer. The tools and machines necessary to construct buildings also create fossil fuels, so constructing a building that lasts a lifetime can make a major impact.
The point is that you’re doing your part to reverse a negative trend with these upgrades.
A natural first step to creating a more environmentally friendly office is to get your team involved. Many major companies, including Coca-Cola, have made it a point to prioritize in-house education regarding sustainability. They teach their teams about the importance of being eco-friendly and ask them to help create programs to make the office more sustainable. Ideas could include having a special event at the office on Earth Day or providing all employees with a reusable mug, so they don’t use disposable cups.
By making your green team part of the solution, they will take more ownership in creating a sustainable workplace and they could come up with some amazing ideas. It’s important to do what’s right for your team. When you help the planet so your workers can breathe cleaner air and enjoy clean sunlight, they can avoid harmful physical ailments and they will be happier at work.
A DIY upgrade many offices can try is creating a paperless environment. Printers are becoming a thing of the past, especially when we can email a document worldwide or show meeting notes on the conference room television. Make it official by eliminating all printers and creating a new system where employees can share all necessary information on their devices.
If you must print paper for legal documents or other sensitive information, it’s essential that you shred that paperwork when the time comes. The issue is while you may think that you’re keeping that documentation from prying eyes via shredding, if you throw it out afterwards or put it in a recycling bin, criminals can still piece the shreds back together. To be totally sustainable, bring in a shredding service. A shredding company can pick up your documents, destroy them, provide you with a certificate of destruction, and then hand off the shreds to their partner recycling provider. This solution will ensure that your client’s information is properly destroyed and recycled.
Business owners who can make modifications to the office should consider updating the faucets. Start in the bathrooms, where you can switch out standard faucets with low-flow alternatives. Also, look into dual flush toilets that use a lot less water. If you have a dishwasher in the kitchen or breakroom, assign one employee to wash all dishes at the end of the day instead of doing several washes.
This is also a good time to inspect your plumbing and fix pipes that may be leaking. If your faucet is dripping, get that fixed as well. It may seem minor but it is said that the average leak can waste 10,000 gallons of water per year.
At most businesses, the lights are always on, even during the day. In addition to creating a hefty electric bill, the fossil fuels that are burned to light those fixtures are hurting the environment. So make some changes. Switch out the incandescent bulbs for LED alternatives that burn longer and use less power. You can also put the lights on timers, so they turn off when people are out of the office at lunch or the end of the day. Also, consider altering the floor plan to put desks closer to windows so your employees can see their work without needing any lights. The natural light will also help them to feel better and be more productive during the day.
You can start your journey towards a more sustainable company by utilizing these six steps. Once you start, you may be addicted to making your office as eco-friendly as possible. Thank you for doing your part to make the world a better place.
Sam Bowman writes about people, sustainability, recycling, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. He volunteers his time as a local recycling and waste reduction activist, working to help people better navigate proper recycling. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.