How Business Can Solve Environmental Problems

For the longest time, humankind was under the impression that the world was so large, there was no way we could have a negative impact on the environment. Fast forward to 2018, and our oceans are suffering from pollution and overfishing now more than ever, greenhouse gas emissions have been peaking for years affecting both the health of our atmosphere and our bodies, and the trash produced by the materials we use on a daily basis is a threat to not only our planet but the other animals inhabiting it.

Operating a business with environmental issues in mind is paramount in changing things for the better. If you need some more motivation to “go green”, you might like to know that as you make more sustainable choices for your business you will also save money. Most of us know the value of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle but what about the specifics? Here are some practical ways your business can take ownership of its environmental footprint.

1. Rethink Your Office Supplies
Over 4 million disposable pens are thrown away every day. A small but extremely effective way to reduce waste produced by your office is by purchasing reusable pens. The refill process will hold everyone accountable for keeping track of their pens instead of carelessly misplacing them and going to get another one. Long-term, this is a cheaper investment for your business.

Conduct a waste review or audit to see exactly how much waste your business is producing. It is also important to be aware of how to recycle properly because if even a small amount of unrecyclable material gets thrown into the recycling bin, it can contaminate the rest of the material and cause the whole bin, or more, to be thrown into the landfill.

2. Sourcing and Purchasing
Sourcing and purchasing, or procurement, is one of the easiest things to address when it comes to “greening up” your business. When looking for suppliers, choose to source your goods from manufacturers who produce them sustainably and don’t use excess packaging. This may require more research on your part but approach the process with curiosity and let others know of your findings so they can make better choices too.

3. Postage
Even in the digital age, the use of paper is anything but obsolete. Make the switch to eco-friendly envelopes that are reusable. This will reduce the total cost spent on envelopes by eliminating the need for separate reply envelopes. Not only will you save on the envelope cost, you will effectively cut warehousing needs and lessen the waste produced by your company.

4. Green Web Hosting
Did you know that running all of the servers in the United States alone equates to the running of 5 nuclear power plants? WIth servers running all the time, your business could be consistently draining environmental resources. Unless you choose green hosting, which ensures that part of the energy is coming from a renewable power source. This option is also more affordable since the hosting company is already saving money by choosing to make its own energy.

5. Furnishing Your Office
This one is often overlooked and needs our attention. Over 17 billion pounds of office furniture and equipment in the U.S. is sent to landfills each year. These products have long lifetimes and should be repurposed instead of disposed of. If you’re designing a new office, disposing of furniture, or updating your office- how can you do so more sustainably? Look into how to properly dispose of these materials for your area instead of throwing them on the curb and try to find used and repurposed furnisher to fill your office space.

6. Energy Use
There are many renewable energy sources that can power your business from wind and solar power to geothermal power, to hydropower and even plant matter. These options are not only good for the planet they are good for your wallet. More businesses are choosing more sustainable energy sources to power their offices each year.

Running a profitable business should not come at such a high cost to the environment and coming up with different ways to make sustainable decisions is a great way to flex your creative muscle. It’s time we own up to our environmental responsibilities and make more of our business decisions with ethics in mind. Be a leader in your field and set an example for other businesses to follow!

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Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.