Going green is not only popular, it’s also morally right. You might not have all of the resources to make your small business 100 percent eco-friendly right away. However, you can still make a positive impact on the earth as you grow and succeed in your business. Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways you can make your small business eco-friendly.
Invest in eco-friendly office supplies
If you want to become eco-friendly, you have to start within your business. Using eco-friendly office supplies will remind you and your employees how important it is to be a green business while also reducing waste. Eco-friendly supplies include recycled folders, recycled paper towel rolls and tissues, refillable whiteboard markers, reusable cups and mugs, recycling bins and much more. You can also incorporate more greenery while adding a bright aesthetic to your office by having moss terrariums or Zen mini gardens.
Use LED lighting.
Using LED lighting can help reduce energy waste as well as rid of the noxious chemicals (like mercury) you’d get from fluorescent lighting. Although they’re a bit more expensive, they last much longer than traditional lightbulbs. In fact, they’re 80 percent more efficient, with 95 percent of the energy in LED bulbs is converted into light and 5 percent converted into heat (the opposite is true for traditional fluorescent lights). LED lights also don’t contain toxic elements and have a better quality of light distribution, which means that less bulbs are needed to bring light into your office or store. Good for the environment and good for your budget!
Online marketing campaigns
Instead of taking ads out in the paper or putting up flyers, invest your marketing campaigns to be strictly online. Social media and email threads are a great way to expand your brand while also reducing paper usage, which reduces pollution and saves some trees! You can also encourage your customers to be eco-friendlier as well as starting discussions with them on how to make your small business even more green.
For your equipment, ingredients or anything you need for your small business, try to buy from local vendors. Shopping local not only helps the environment, but it also supports your local small business. By shopping local, you’ll have less deliveries, which cuts down air pollution caused by delivery trucks. You can also partner with your fellow local business for more green initiatives, taking action on sustainability. You can develop strategies for a more circular economy, which promotes local sourcing of material and reduces the consumption of natural resources.
Brand green promotional products
Instead of branding one-time use bottles of water, look into branding reusable water bottles. This way, you’re helping the planet by reducing plastic pollution while also enhancing your brand. If you offer your customers one-time use bottles, they’ll throw them out and will probably forget about your business. However, by giving them a reusable water bottle, they’ll have a continually reminder of your brand and business. Customers will also feel good for helping reduce the planet’s plastic waste.
Offer eco-friendly products
Offering eco-friendly products helps the environment, your conscience and your customers’ consciences as well. By offering or selling environmentally friendly products, your customers will have that charitable fulfillment and will continue to shop at your store in order to keep helping the environment. It also might inspire them to incorporate a greener lifestyle. Eco-friendly products include reusable bags, soaps or fragrances using plant resources and sustainable oils, non-animal tested products, biodegradable wrappers or containers and much, much more.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 86 percent of workers commute to work by car and at least 75 percent drive alone. Your car emits carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, all of which create an atmospheric haze and can damage your lungs and the earth. Instead of driving or driving alone, bike or walk to work, take public transportation or set up a company carpool chain. If you can, allow your employees to work from home once in a while. This will help reduce harmful chemicals in our atmosphere, and the earth – and your lungs – will thank you for it!
Offer customer rewards
Reward your customers with giveaways or coupons for being green. For a giveaway, hold a contest on social media using a specific hashtag to incentivize your customers to go green. It could be as simple as them posting a picture of how they’ve made a green change in their life and then a random winner being selected (either for a gift card, a free product or a special discount code). Also have “green days” in which customers who bring in items for recycling, use paperless receipts or purchase eco-friendly products get a small discount on their total bill.
Check your receipts
Offering customers a choice between paper and email receipt can decreased your use of paper, which keeps your business eco-friendly! While not all customers will want a receipt emailed to them, giving them the choice increases their likelihood of receiving paperless receipts (or no receipt at all). You should also use recycled receipt paper for those who still want a paper receipt. If you provide a service, stick to online only invoicing to reduce the use of paper.
Get listed on eco-friendly websites
Being environmentally sound can provide benefits to the environment, your conscience and your small business. Eco-friendly websites will want their users knowing which businesses in their area are environmentally friendly. By greening up your business, you can reach out to these sites to be featured. You can also learn even more innovate ways to make your business green!
Implementing some, if not all, of these 10 tips will help you green your business. Going green isn’t just good marketing – it’s good morals. You’re helping your business and the earth when you take care of the environment. If you don’t have the resources to go completely green, you could take out a small business loan to help jumpstart the process, or you can start small and grow from there.
Constantina is a new addition to the SEO team at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s degree from Northwestern University, where she learned how to create content that could best be organically shared. When not in the marketing world, Constantina enjoys strategy games and singing along to the Law & Order: SVU theme song.