10 Tips For Creating an Eco-Friendly Business

Around eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Scientists warn that plastic pollution is as great a threat as climate change.
As an eco-friendly business, you know your decisions about waste, energy and water make a huge impact on customer perception of your company and significant savings to your bottom line. Many businesses go green these days, from a simple office paper recycling program or employee carpool to sophisticated solar and geothermal power co-generation and smart building technologies.
But where to start? Read on for 10 tips for creating an eco-friendly business.

Start With Sustainable Packaging

Consistently reducing the amount of waste generated and the energy and water used in your packaging makes a huge difference, both to the environment and to your profit margin.
An eco-friendly business avoids:
– Plastics Made From Polyethylene
– Styrofoam
– Multi-layered Packaging
– Polystyrene
– Fossil Fuel Energy
– Non-Recyclable Materials
Use instead:
– Biodegradable Plastics
– Plant-based Plastics
– Recycled Products
– Alternative Energy Sources
– Post-consumer Recycled Polyethylene Bags Made From Recycled Waste
– Recycled Molded Packaging

When possible, select items with the least amount of packaging possible and retool your own products to eliminate excess packaging.

Use Digital Recordkeeping

Thoughtful paper use is a simple step and businesses already use online contact forms and newsletters. Think of the impact you could have if you insisted on digital copies as your first choice, double-sided copies when you did have to print and recycled paper sold in 5000 sheet boxes rather than shrink-wrapped 250 sheets.
How much paper (and office supply costs) could you save over the course of a year? How much waste and plastic are you diverting from the landfill? A few small changes – but big results!

Eco-Friendly Business Buildings

Consider a Building Management System (BMS) to control lighting and Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Between 30% and 70% of the energy used by commercial buildings is consumed by HVAC. Businesses with an updated Building Management System (BMS) controller can cut operational costs up to by 15%.
A more sophisticated BMS takes advantage of strategic electrical tariff pricing. Rates for electricity in most commercial buildings include both peak demand and consumption charges, with large potential savings available from shifting demand to off-peak hours.

Be Water-wise

Audit your taps. A dripping faucet can cost you 10,000 liters a year, a running toilet can lose that much in a month. Drinking water is increasingly precious and running it away wastefully reflects badly on your business and your costs.
Many buildings install waterless urinals and low-flow toilets. Gray water recycling systems to flush toilets or water landscaping are popular in some areas. Investment in rainwater collection and xeriscape landscaping is also smart.
Consider upgrading equipment like dishwashers, cooling towers and laundry systems to their low water and low energy consumption equivalents. A 15 year-old warewasher uses almost three times as much energy and twice as much water as a newer model. Given energy and water savings, good for the environment is good for the bottom line!

Donate, Don’t Discard

When you discard furniture or other large pieces, look into creative reuse or donation before adding them to the waste stream. Many items can be reused as is, broken into component parts for repurposing or turned into art!
Also, look to purchase repurposed or recycled when seeking new furniture pieces. Often, “good as new” can be purchased at a fraction of the cost.

Go Local!

Choose the most fuel- and time-efficient modes of transportation to both purchase goods and deliver your product to customers. Your first choice should always be to buy products locally made over goods traveling a long distance. Order larger amounts with less frequency to minimize trips.
For delivery, consider a minimum order size to reduce the frequency of deliveries and use common carriers where possible. Where your own delivery fleet is used, GPS software can be used to create routes with reduced in-traffic idling time and the most fuel-efficient distances.

Use Renewable Resources

Adding solar panels to heat water or generate electricity is a typical change many eco-friendly businesses make. But have you considered wind, fuel cell or geothermal energy? How about recapturing heat generated by your computers or refrigeration equipment and using it to heat your water?

Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

An eco-friendly business looks for ways to decrease use of fossil fuels by purchasing hybrid or alternative fuel company fleet vehicles. Some companies even offer employees an incentive to purchase hybrid or electric vehicles.
Consider allowing employees to avoid coming into the office at all. Avoiding even one daily commute per week, per employee makes a big difference in carbon emissions for the year.
Encourage alternate transportation like biking or public transport. Additionally, specialized software can create optimum carpool partners and routes.

LEED and Beyond

Should an eco-friendly business pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification? Many businesses find that having the third-party validation of their efforts is valuable, especially if customers prefer those businesses with the “seal of approval” an LEED Gold or Platinum level brings.
LEED certification is not without cost. The fees to apply are approximately 2% of the total construction budget in addition to making selections in materials and methods that are initially more costly. However, many components such as all LED lighting, occupation sensors or gray-water recycling can be implemented without certification documentation and still save your business money!

Incentivize Your Customers

Extend your eco-friendly business ideas to your customer and employee lives by offering incentives to make green changes. Perhaps a small discount for customers who bring in their own coffee cup rather than taking a disposable, or for bringing a bag rather than using plastic.

Make Merchant Money Your Eco-friendly Business Partner

With these ten tips for taking charge of your business’ environmental impact and sustainability in mind, how are you going to reduce waste and use energy and water wisely? Every step, large or small, benefits the planet and benefits your bottom line.
Contact Merchant Money today about unsecured business finance options to improve your building systems and equipment. Making your business green and eco-friendly is not unobtainable. Let us help!

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