03 Dec Simple Ways to Get Started Saving the Environment
If you’re wondering how your company or business can begin an environmentally friendly initiative, get everyone involved from point one. Send a questionnaire or an e-mail to everyone in the company. Ask for ideas to go green, giving a meeting date to share ideas. Then form a committee to choose the best practices to use in your business.
The key to starting any green initiative is to start with small changes and build up what all the eco-friendly building. Just like you crawled before you walked it’s probably best to take a few ‘baby steps’ first.
One of the first things any company can do is to order recycled or post-consumer business cards. Look for phrases like: 100% recycled post-consumer waste (PCW), chlorine-free paper, soy inks and 100% non-toxic toner. Even better – find a local printer.
If there’s a parking garage, consider reducing the amount of time the garage exhaust fans are running. Turn off the lights after work hours. Lighting can make a huge difference in your electric bill each month. Replace incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient lighting. Cleaning supplies are a necessity for all buildings, but choose green products for cleaning instead of toxic chemical products. Create a recycling area in each break or lunch room for aluminum and plastic. Save paper, printing on both sides and have a recycling bin for paper next to the office trash can. Reduce paper consumption, refrain from unnecessary copy. Organize folders in a logical manner and store e-mail messages on your computer. Make backup copies of important documents and e-mails on a CD to make sure nothing is ever lost. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air into the office on mild days, eliminating the need for air conditioning. Use renewable and sustainable resources wherever possible. These simple tasks can save money for the company and the help save the environment.
Another way to start small is to create cleaner air with plants. Use plants in large lobbies to create a healthier indoor environment. Then encourage employees to bring in their own plants. Each cubicle or office should, ideally, have a plant or two. An area of 1,500 sq. ft. needs 15 to 20 plants to maximize air purification. Ficus and Philodendron are excellent examples of plants which remove toxins from the air and provide a pleasant green touch to an otherwise bare indoor workplace.
If you’re going green find ways for workers to reduce oil consumption. Encourage employees to ride-share or car pool or use public transport. Reserve a bulletin board in the kitchen or lounge for people who want to share the trip. Consider telecommuting for employees who can do their work at home.
Don’t constrain yourself to indoors, either. It might seem like a waste of money but planting trees near your building can make an environmental difference. Look for companies or non-profit organizations willing to do the maintenance if you supply the funding.
The important thing is to get started with something. The sooner the better for everyone and a little effort can mean a lot. It will mean a lot on your long term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance.