Paying Attention to Green Business Practices

Green business ideasI was just reading an article about energy savings that got me reflecting on my own “green” business practices.

The year 2009 is the year that I am paying much more attention to being green in my business. How about you?

(1) We’re doing a lot more with recycling. We’ve been taking old computer and other electronic equipment to a central electronics recycling location.  Amazingly, we live and work in a location that does not require us to separate recyclables. Supposedly everything is separated at a central plant and then recycled (if you believe that). But we’re looking at some voluntary recycling options, starting with the electronic equipment.

(2) Another big area of focus is in power management on office equipment, for energy efficiency. We’ve replaced some inefficient equipment and are doing more with managing power settings during off hours.  One of the things I learned in the article is that you should not use screensavers. Instead, you should set your computer to go into sleep mode. My laptops have always done that automatically, say, after 20 minutes. Now it’s time to set the desktops up for sleep mode.

(3) The third thing we are doing is paying attention to the Energy Star seal when making purchases. Energy Star is a program by the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy, to label products that meet energy efficiency standards. The seal means you’re buying an energy-efficient product.

So for instance, earlier today I was buying lightbulbs. I noticed that some of the new fluorescent bulbs to replace standard lightbulbs have the Energy Star seal on them. The Energy Star seal also appears on appliances, electronics, even buildings. I hadn’t really paid that much attention to Energy Star previously, but now that I know what it is, I’ll be looking for it when I buy products. 

For information about saving energy, read:  Save Energy to Light Up Your Bottom Line

The article is over at Small Business Central, a section on the Best Buy site that is co-branded with HP (also our sponsor).  I discovered the article after being led to Small Business Central from an ad on my site (yes, I actually read the ads here on this site).


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

33 Reactions
  1. Anita,
    Thank you so much for this information on what you are doing-green. Our family is also, and my daughter, who’s 13, is really pushing us to recycle more, and to watch our paper consumtion.

    That generation IS excited about all things green. Good stuff.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  2. Anita — It’s always good to remind people about this. I found that being green is a real money save and wrote a post on 10 specific things small businesses can do from an IT point of view in “Greening Your Organizations IT” at I hope it’s helpful to your readers.

  3. Thanks, Gary, for sharing your article. I especially like your tip about using email instead of faxes, to save paper.

  4. This is a great reminder. I thought it was interesting that LCD monitors use less energy. I had no idea that switching to LCD could make a significant difference. Good things to consider.

  5. As energy-conscious homeowners like Anita are sealing their homes with weather stripping & double-pane windows many don’t realize that while air pollution outside is actually getting better in most places it is getting worse inside. So consider getting one of the newer whole home air cleaners that can bolt right onto any hvac system. New technology ones are not expensive, require less than 10 minutes of annual maintenance (1-2 air filter changes a year) do not emit dangerous ozone as some room-only unit do – and are continuously high-performing – removing 99% of the tiny (RSPs) particles that go deep into the lungs worsening asthma and other respiratory diseases. Especially if you work at home, have young children or are older where lung capacity is much reduced, consider making your air at home healthy – while you make it green. (I’m glad I did.)

  6. I bought a new TV some months ago and it has an “energy saver” setting that lowers the brilliance of the cell lights and whatnot. It somewhat surprised me to see a setting like that on a television – but I was actually glad to see it there.

    Any electronic purchases that I now make, I look for things like that.

    I imagine many of you took notice of the 2009 Earth Hour just this past Saturday? Lights went out in 84 countries for one hour:

  7. In material handling equipment, going green has always been a money saver. On average, electric forklift savings start after 2.5 years of ownership over comparable propane or gas powered lifts. There are also now affordable telemetry systems that monitor and offer control over the energy use of each forklift in the fleet. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is getting within reach of many companies as well. It pays to go green.

  8. Hi Anita,
    One of the simple and small things I’ve done (in addition to some of the ones you mention) is to reduce the printer resolution on my printers. The more expensive printers do an amazing job at 1200 dpi, but not every document needs to be printed at that quality, so i set mine to 300 dpi for simple text printouts. I track how long my cartridges last because they are quite pricey with printers over $1,000 each and it definitely makes them last longer. I’ve been doing and testing this for 3 years.

    Also, for just general green and sustainable ideas, i want to share a publication that I really enjoy and admire: Sustainable Industries Journal published out of San Francisco and mainly aimed at the west coast. is the link.

  9. Is it all good if you save energy in order to save money, but please don’t fall for the environmentalists’ propaganda. Case in point, during the so called “Earth Hour”, I had my light on as a positive protest and a celebration of Edison and the industrialization. With “spinning Jenny”, light bulb, and other inventions, we wouldn’t sit here right now! Please take some time and read my post, Turn On the Light at 8:30 PM.

  10. And as a follow-up comment. I have awful experience from the recycling hysteria during my time as a purchaser in the manufacturing industry. We had to pay special packaging taxes, enforced by the “Green Point” system established in Germany. The recycled carton material got weaker due to the “damage” (shortening) of the fibres, so you had to increase the amount of paper and if you wanted to be on the safe side, you had to include a plastic bag due to the risk on contamination from the recycled fibres.

  11. I missed the word “out”. Without “spinning Jenny”, light bulb, and other inventions, we wouldn’t sit here right now!

  12. Go Green!

  13. We have also become more green aware. These may have been covered in the article, but 2 things we have found that also saves money is to ensure we have all equiptment turned off at the switch at night and to use both sides of paper if we have to print anything.

  14. This is a good thing for all entrepreneurs to practice. It’s about time to take care of the nature which is our source of almost everything we do in our every day lives.

    Btw, did you join the earth hour last Saturday?

  15. We are seeing more and more businesses coming on-line with green concepts and green thinking. It’s interesting to watch it evolve. Green consciousness had been growing for years, but it’s only when small businesses begin to advocate the movement do we begin to see it spread democratically across the country. Green definitely seems to be the future.

  16. Rose,

    The environment is our surrounding that is a resource for us to use and rearrange for our purposes. If we wouldn’t have that right, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now, writing things online.

    I celebrated inventor Edison during the so-called “earth hour” by having my light on. Please read my post on this issue by clicking on “Martin Lindeskog” Says:

  17. Great tips, Anita. There are so many ways to work more earth-consciously and positively affect your bottom line. We recently ran two articles on the topic: “Top 5 Ways to Work Greener without Spending More Green” ( and “Eco-Friendly and Budget-Conscious – The Triple Bottom Line” (

    There are a lot of companies in the NY-area who are leading the way with green initiatives. At the 2009 Small Business Awards in September, NY Report will honor one of them with a Green Best Practice Award. If you or someone you know deserves to be nominated for the award, visit

  18. In addition to many of the suggestions listed in the article and the comments, we recycle our toner cartridges (and buy recycled cartridges for use); we print less and use recycled paper – and double side photocopy/print for draft documents; and our office heat is set 2 points lower than it used to be. Some of my clients are into a much bigger program (and are inspiring to me to say the least): building sustainability policies; collecting rain water in water barrels around their building and using it to water the grounds; reducing garbage by 2/3; using recycled materials in their offices – recycled material for carpet is very popular; insisting that the couriers they work with use fuel efficient and/or green vehicles; and so on. Lots of great effort for the future.

  19. Martin,

    Thanks. I’ll check that out!


  20. @Kris Bovay — KUDOS and bravo! Thanks for sharing the folks doing such terrific efforts to reduce.

    @Martin — I don’t disagree with your comments, Martin, but much of what we’re doing in the efforts to conserve is plain old smart. I also celebrate Edison and other powerful and awesome inventions. But much of our packaging is ridiculous here in the USA, at least. I think Europe has been far more intelligent in using its resources, but perhaps the program you’re talking about went overboard. If we don’t use our resources intelligently, I don’t think you’ll disagree that we will run out of them…

  21. I realize this is a press release from Staples, but it is worth a look for those who use Staples for printwer ink cartridges.

  22. Rose,

    You are welcome! I hope you thought it was thought provoking.

  23. TJ: I am glad to hear that you celebrate Edison as a great inventor and businessman. Check out “Heroes of Capitalism” blog for more inspirational reading.

  24. In addition to being environmentally friendly, green business practices can help companies to save money. Miles Technologies offers power management and paperless office solutions to help businesses save on energy and paper costs. Also, go to to find out where you can drop off old technology equipment to be recycled.

  25. Thank you for the info; at my small business I did a lot last year and we continuously establish ourselves as the “greenest” in Spring Green, – that is WI.

    I learn a lot and we love to stay sustainable and will be practicing all in our power to save, conserve and share all the concepts we implemented: see for yourself at

    Carolina D
    Empowering Yourself for a GREEN Future!

  26. Another option that would be a great opportunity if you’re looking to go green is to research your local green banks. In particular, e3bank ( offers a triple bottom line incentivizing people to install eco-friendly features to their homes and/or business for a better interest rate. You should check it out!

  27. This is a great article and lots of people have high interest on learning more on this subject.

    I have a question on what do you do about power management? If you already have the whole office energy prescription, this is great; I know of this one product to be working wonders and I could further discuss as you wish, if my product interests you.

    Check my web page and feel free to call.

  28. Anita,

    I always appreciate every effort anyone makes in practicing green business. I was absolutely appalled at how much businesses (as well as individuals) DON”T recycle or practice conservation. I was recently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and noticed how diligent everyone (hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, residents) was about separating, recycling and conserving. It was really refreshing…until I got back to Orange County where you can’t find a recycling bin except on a few residential curbs and where consumerism & waste is abundant.

    This incited me to plan and organize a “Green Initiative” at work with all proceeds from recycling going directly to local charities and schools. I purchased a composter for home and have notes posted everywhere with facts and impacts on not doing these things (much to the chagrin of my homes inhabitants)

    It’s simply common sense and good practice.


  29. Also, check out this website which highlights how small businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by “Paying it Green”. Anyone in the payments industry will be familiar with


  30. we try to do lot of things posted here, but the success of being green is helping those that are not by using creative solutions.

    For example: El Projecto Esmeraldas is a marketing solution which tries to use affiliate marketing as a way of generating funds to invest in a marine reserve in the region of Esmeraldas Ecuador. By helping small businesses market their businesses through the association with an environmental hotspot we are making it possible for those to make a contribution to environmental protection without it costing them anything.