Here at Small Business Trends, we’ve been writing about sustainability, recycling, conserving energy and going green in business for a long time. We even get our community involved. At one point we asked readers to submit their best green business tips. Recently we updated these tips for 2019.
Below are 100 awesome ideas for small businesses to go green and adopt sustainability practices. In fact, most of the tips are relevant for businesses of all sizes. As we updated this article, we replaced a few that seemed outdated. But most tips we found to still be relevant and super creative. I guess that’s why we can call these the “best green business tips” because they’ve stood the test of time.
Unpacking the 100 Green Business Tips
We divided the 100 tips into four categories:
Without further delay, below are the 100 green business tips. The contributor’s name and company is included in parentheses, where applicable. Oh, and if these aren’t enough, when you’re done check out 100 MORE tips for reducing energy in your business.
1. Use a Power Strip – and Turn it Off
“Turn off your PC’s power strip every night. Saves over $150 a year!” (Joel Libava, The Franchise King)
2. Take Advantage of Natural Lighting
“Position your desk to capture all the sunlight when possible.” (Susan Oakes, M4B Marketing)
3. Make Printing Hard
“For three days, disconnect your printer from the network and connect it to one computer in the office. If every time you have to print you have to save the doc to a thumb drive and go somewhere else, you really only print those things that are must-haves. You’ll be amazed at how much less you need to print!” (Kathy Breitenbucher, The Pedestal Group, @k_breitenbucher)
4. Try an eFax Service
“If you still need to fax documents, retire the old paper machine in favor of all-in-one scanner or eFax service. No more separate paper, toner, power and maintenance, and you only print the ones you really need to (if any).” (Matt Cowall, Appia Communications)
5. Turn Off Your Wireless Mouse
“I turn my wireless mouse off every evening. It seems to really extend the life of my batteries which means fewer batteries in the landfills.” (Amanda Stillwagon, My Finds Online)
6. Say No to Shopping Bags in Your Shop
“A local retail business I worked with started a program called ‘change for bags’. They asked everyone if they wanted to refuse a bag – notice they didn’t say ‘do you want a bag’. Every time someone refused a bag they dropped a nickel into a jar on the counter. When the jar filled they donated the money to an environmental cause. Double Green!” (Todd Allison, ToddAllison.com)
7. Power Down Your Electronics
“Did you know that Energy Star recommends that you power down all electronics – computer, monitor, printer, and other peripherals – when not in use? This includes unplugging power strips at the end of the day. They consume energy even when the equipment is shut off. But be sure to power down all equipment connected to the power strip first.” (Angela)
8. Collect Data on Your Usage Amounts
“Everyone is different so the best way to go ‘green’ is to first get an accurate reading of what you are using and how much. This can be of anything like energy, water or paper for example. This is called getting a base line. If you don’t get a base line first you will never REALLY know if you are doing better or not with all of the different ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All of the ideas are great and they will work but for maximum benefit you need to know where you are starting from. This also means that you can choose goal and have a celebration when you achieve it. This goal setting is very important in keeping your focus on what YOU want to do and not some consultant like me.” (Barry Benjamin, Going Green)
9. Enable Employees to Work Remotely
“Allow telecommuting at least one day a week, if it’s feasible for your company. By doing this, you reduce the energy produced in the office. Employees can reduce their carbon footprint (gas or public transportation) once a week as well.” (Nichole Wesson)
10. Adjust Your Thermostat
“Adjust your thermostat! Set it at 74 to save on air conditioning in the summer. Nobody is going to cook at a few degrees warmer temps. In the winter, set it at 70.” (Jane A.)
11. Conserve Energy by Turning Off Lights
“Turn out the lights you don’t need on!” (Jeff Yablon, Answer Guy Central)
12. Schedule Day Time Events
“Stage events during the time of day when the least amount of electricity is used for both lighting and heat or air conditioning.” (Lynn, Celebrate Green)
13. Unplug Device Chargers Not In Use
“Pull out all power chargers that aren’t charging something and turn off coffee makers that aren’t brewing. Phantom loads add up!!” (Adam, Auggie V Green)
14. Get a Free Energy Audit
“Get in touch with your electric utility. Many offer free energy audits, giving you more ideas on how to cut down on your electrical consumption. Some water utilities do the same.” (Becky McCray, Small Biz Survival)
15. Try a Four Day Work Week
“Work 10 hour days and shut down Friday, Saturday and Sunday (every week, every other week or at least once per month). Employees will love you as well.” (Ron Reed, @themortgagedoc)
16. Monitor Your Energy Usage
“The first step to conserving energy is to be mindful of how much you use in your offices. Pay attention to your utility bills — don’t just pay them. And look around for apps that help you monitor your usage. For instance, some electric companies offer these to their customers free of charge. Monitoring is the best green business tip!”
17. Use Both Sides of Printer Paper
“Instead of printing a document and throwing it out after we’re done with it, we re-use it to print on the blank side of the paper. It has cut our paper costs dramatically.” (Brian Moran, Small Business Edge)
18. Enable Remote Access
“Enable remote access to applications to facilitate home and on-the-road working to cut unnecessary travel and commutes.” (Eddie Gear)
19. Adjust Printer Setup
“Adjust your default print setup for double sided prints.” (Kamalika)
20. Limit Air Conditioning
“Open the windows during the days whenever possible and turn the air conditioning off. Make sure air conditioning is never left on at night or on weekends (or is adjusted to a higher temperature).” (Susie Sharp, Morand Architects, Inc., @SusieSharp)
21. Install Hot Water on Demand
“Install hot water on demand (tankless water heater), eliminating constant heating of a water tank.” (Jarrod Harms, Detour Salon & Store)
22. Eliminate Bottled Water
“Install a drinking water filtration system reducing the amount of plastic bottles or the gas used for delivery of bottled water.”
23. Work From Home
“Working from home has saved me heaps on transportation costs, and saved many car trips.” (Cameron Smith)
24. Limit Meetings
“Schedule a standing in-person meeting one a month, or more frequently if needed, with an agenda. All in between meetings are handled electronically (email, e-meeting, conference call). Saves on travel (i.e., that carbon footprint) and presentation material waste; but also is more time efficient and organizes clients while still maintaining client relationship. I also find that I get more dedicated attention during the in-person meeting so we get more done.” (Sharon Minchuk, Splash Events)
25. Bike to Work
“Not only will employees reduce greenhouse gas production by riding to work, they will get their exercise en route, and save money on gas.” (Anne-Marie Bonneau)
26. Learn How to Manage Remote Workers.
“Learn how to manage remote employees or contractors. It takes being well organized about giving assignments and providing feedback. But with some practice and documenting of procedures, remote management skills can be learned. Remote workers help you grow your business and be more profitable without a bigger ecological footprint.” (Anne M. Wenzel)
27. Install Eco-Font
“We use Eco-font, as well as using ‘draft print’ option on the printer. Eco-font is a font that uses up to 20% less ink. Therefore, ink cartridges (or toner) will last longer.” (Sarah Bradley, @SJABradley)
28. Print Smaller Business Cards
“When you need more, design and print smaller business cards. 2 and 11/16 inches by 1 and 5/16 inches is a nice proportion and is about half the size of conventional ones. Perhaps smaller, concise business cards can become the norm.” (Max Bielenberg, Dan4, Inc. )
29. Buy Refurbished Furniture
“Purchase used and reconditioned office furniture or store fixtures, available through local firms. Donate furnishings when you remodel.” (Danita Blackwood, @DanitaBlackwood)
30. Eliminate a Few Fluorescent Bulbs
“Each of our florescent light fixtures held 4 florescent tubes…we pulled two. It hardly makes a difference in the light and uses half the energy.” (Kylie Gates, WSMH FOX 66)
31. Use Solar Lights Outdoors
“Buy inexpensive solar landscape lights to illuminate the exterior of your premises for security and safety. After the initial expenditure they cost nothing to operate as you will use no electricity. Solar lights highlighting bushes and trees can beautify your premises at night, too.”
32. Turn Off Your Monitor and Computers
“A simple yet important green business tip is to turn off your monitor when not in use. And use the power savings options available in Windows or on your device.”
33. Close Unused Computer Programs
“You should note that the extra programs running in the background eat up your system resources. That requires more electricity thereby heating your system. That in turn releases more heat for the environment to fight with.”
34. Keep Devices Off During Conferences
“Turn off your laptop and resist turning it on during conferences, meetups or other networking events. The purpose of attending a networking event is to have conversations with people. Keep the work at your office.” (Wayne Liew, @WayneLiew)
35. Work Without Your Computer
“Shut off your computer for a few hours a day. You will have more time to think about your business and work for your clients. Try meeting them in person or talking on the phone with them. They like it!” (Marcia B, Marcia B Consulting)
36. Make Turning Off Electronics Easier
“A simple trick for making it easy to turn off monitors, printers, shredders and chargers is to plug the things you want to turn off at night into a power strip screwed under the outside edge of your desktop. When you leave at night, just reach below your desk and flip the main switch on the power strip to shut down everything. No more crouching under desks!” (Denise Taschereau, Fairware Promotional Products Ltd.)
37. Use Cloud Software
“Software as a Service, often referred to as SAAS, is cloud-based software. By having software hosted elsewhere this reduces power consumption by not having the hardware on-site or centralized.” (Jeff Cobado, Brain Trust Technologies LLC)
38. Shut Down Workstations During Meetings
“Every time we have meetings or brainstorming or creative sessions, we simply go to the old pencil and paper. We and shut down all the computers, printers, scanners, etc.
Let’s calculate the savings: 1 hour (minimum) a day, five hours in a working week, 20 in a month, 250 hours in a year…. Great!” (Claudio Arica, Bachicha)
39. Put Laptop AC Adapters on a Power Strip
“To maximize your energy savings using a laptop, put your AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off. Here’s why. The transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.” (John Thompson, Global Learning Institute, Inc.)
40. Switch to Online Classes
“Switch your face-to-face classes to online classes because online learning uses 90% less energy.”
41. Wash Work Clothes Less Often
“Wear your clothes (outerwear) and use towels more than once. Come on, unless you work at something where you sweat or pick up contaminates, does that outfit really need to go through the laundry?” (Jane Anderson, CU*Answers)
42. Use Desk Lamps
“Turn off the overhead lights. If you’re in the office alone or with just a few co-workers, use your desk lamps. Leave the room lights in the OFF position.”
43. Assemble a Recycling Program
“Ever thought about what happens to all the trash your business generates? The pop cans and paper? Making your business more green can be as simple as putting together a basic recycling program. Even if it’s only a special trash can for paper waste every little bit helps.” (Robert Brady)
44. Utilize Recycled Ink Cartridges
“One way to go green in your business is to utilize recycled printer cartridges. Instead of throwing your printer cartridge out when it runs out of toner (or ink), hold on to it. There are recycled printer cartridge stores (online as well) that will give you a discount on a replacement recycled printer cartridge. Not only are you saving money but also helping to reduce the amount of printer cartridges that end up in landfills across the country.” (Lisa Sims, Stretching Your Cash)
45. Small Changes Can Add Up
“Greening your business is easy and small things can make a big difference. Recycle unwanted paper and cardboard, eliminate disposable cups and utensils, purchase recycled printer cartridges and even work from home!” (Joann Sondy)
46. Recycle Paper in Bulk
“Don’t trash papers. Try collecting them and giving them for bulk recycling.” (Nancy, Princeton Cryo)
47. Repurpose Old Business Cards
“Tips that I gather to create e-books and downloadable reports are written on the back (blank side) of my old business cards. This is better for me than writing on paper, as I usually misplace the paper before I’m done. One tip is written on each card, and all cards stay in the original shipping box until I’m ready to compile the eBook or report.” (Shirley George Frazier, @ShirleyFrazier)
48. Recycle Office Trash
“Recycle everything the city allows: paper, cans, glass, plastic bags, cardboard, plastic bottles. You’ll be surprised at how little trash you make when the intention is to reduce. If you do that you may be able to reduce plastic trash can liners as well.” (Louana George, The L Bag)
49. Use Coffee Grounds for Compost
“Take the coffee grounds (no doubt your office makes several pounds each day, at least), put them in a large plastic container, and take turns taking them home. Use them to fertilize your gardens or add to compost piles.” (Erika Kerekes)
50. Donate Used Mobile Phones
“Collect used mobile phones and donate to be reprogrammed for victims of domestic abuse.” (Kathy Watcke,@infogatherer)
51. Recycle Furniture
“I had an old desk that wasn’t in the best of shape. Instead of buying a new desk and giving this away, I found an artist in town who reclaimed the wood, added metal and created a gorgeous “new” desk for me.
Before you throw out or even give something to Goodwill, ask yourself if there is a way you can use what you have with some modification such as painting it, sanding it, or finding someone who can transform it into something wonderful.” (Lizette Pirtle, Expansion Expert)
52. Reuse Packaging
“My green business tip is to reuse all packaging that comes into your office. Padded envelopes, bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, mailing tubes and carefully opened envelopes can all be reused. I love tips that save the planet but save me money too. It makes total business sense.
Each day I carefully slice envelopes and packaging open and store them. When I have some letters or a parcel to send, I select the right packaging from my reuse stash! It also means I can pass savings on to people who buy from me! AND it’s so simple that colleagues can be empowered in the process which plants seeds about being careful with resources.
I’ve collected so much packaging I’ve had to give it away on Freecycle. It’s amazing what you can collect once you start.” (Mrs. Green, My Zero Waste)
53. Flatten and Stuff Boxes for Recycling
“Take the largest empty box for recycling and unfold the ends to make flat. Then fold in the flaps on one bottom, flatten all other boxes and insert into the largest pocket box. Stuff the box full of the other flattened boxes, even folding some to fit. This is a good and easy way to contain the boxes for recycling.” (Jackie Malcolm)
54. Reuse Shipping Pallets
Utilize reusable shipping containers and pallets instead of disposable ones. If you eliminate 11 wooden pallets from your business you save one tree!” (Jillian Koeneman, Effect)
55. Provide Recycling Bins for Each Desk
“Rather than have a trash can at every employee’s desk and only a few centralized recycling bins, flip that! Give every employee a recycling bin at their desk with only a few centralized trash cans in break rooms. This makes it easy to recycle and changes the way employees think about the trash they create.”
56. Recycle Used Paper for Notes
“Keep a bin for used computer paper. Use a paper trimmer to cut paper into 3X5 paper size. Keep a stack of these papers at everyone’s desk. This is a great way to recycle paper and save on notepads as well.” (Patti Osterheld, POKO, LLC)
57. Donate Used Magazines
“My office gets flooded with many wonderful magazines. Once I read through them, I remove my address label and bag them for donating to the shops of my dentist and manicurist. They are grateful for the variety and don’t have to be concerned if folks walk away with them since they’ll get a new batch each month. Everybody wins.” (Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D., Flora Brown Associates)
58. Reuse Manila Folders
“When using manila folders, for temporary organization of a project or task, write the folder title in pencil. Once the project is over or the task complete, you can reuse the folder and simply erase the title tab instead of throwing it away.” (Lisa Roberts, Business Rx, LLC)
59. Freecycle Unwanted Items
“List unwanted items for free at your local chapter of Freecycle.org. With over 5,000 groups having over 9,000,000 members around the world, there’s more than a good chance that there’s a local Freecycle Network in your area.
Usually, people who need those items will be more than happy to meet you at your convenience to pickup those items. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that those items are now in good hands and not going to waste.
Sometimes, those items can end up in the hands of local nonprofits where they’ll help make a large positive difference in your community.” (Doug DuCap, Hugging the Coast)
60. Reuse Shredded Paper for Packing Material
“Use all the paper you shred as packaging material. It makes a great cushion for fragile items and it’s free. It’s one of the simplest green business tips.”
61. Get Bills Electronically
“Go electronic with all your monthly bills and statements. You will have less paper to worry about recycling.” (John, The Small Biz Nest)
62. Request Electronic Correspondence
“When someone tries to give you paper – resume, brochure, pamphlet, legal document, anything – tell them:
“I can’t accept anything on paper. Please send me an electronic copy and I’ll file it.”
If they press you, or if you feel like it, you can follow with: “If you give me that I have no place to put it – no filing cabinet, no drawers, and so forth. I have an excellent filing system on my computer. So if you hand this to me I will literally just put it in the trash. But if you send me it I will keep it forever. This is a nice way to pay it forward!” (Jason Cohen, A Smart Bear)
63. Eliminate Paper Payroll Checks and Paystubs
“A unique way to go green is to reduce and eliminate the unnecessary need of payroll checks and paystubs. You can now store paystubs and payroll data online so that your employees can access them when they want them. The added cost of paper and sometimes check paper to print this information is useless. Besides, most employees don’t need it anyway until the end of the year.” (EntreCorp)
64. Eliminate Paper Cups
“Buy a washable coffee mug and water bottle for every employee, plus a few extras for guests who come in for meetings. Stop buying paper cups, period.” (Erika Kerekes, Business.com)
65. Offer Paperless Billing
“Implement paperless bill management and payment. Use web-based services that make it easy for vendors to send bills directly to the service, saving the environmental cost and cost of postage and paper. Use these services to route bills to the right people in your company, saving paper and ink needed for duplication. And finally, use these services to make electronic payments to both large and small vendors. You’ll save on the time and cost of managing and paying bills, and also dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.” (Jeff Schultz, Bill.com)
66. Advertise Online and Use Social Media
“I am creating a ‘Coordinator of Cool’ position in our company. We have college students work as interns, whose job is to reach out and market the business online and in social media. A world they know well. They create, update and maintain the business image on the internet. They help market the restaurant and catering on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. This team also assists with blogs and post about special events, menus, types of catering we are doing or have just done, which in return keeps content fresh. Why is this “green”? I’m not advertising in paper magazines, newspapers, handouts!” (Valerie Vollmer)
67. Share Documents Online
“Use Google Docs so that people can access documents from anywhere without ever having to print something out.” (Jay Melone)
68. Use an Energy Star Projector
“My green business tip is to purchase an Energy Star rated projector that can be used in meetings and eliminate the need to print anything. Or simply share a screen on a large energy-efficient monitor, using a program such as Zoho Meetings, Zoom or WebEx.” (Shawn)
69. Go Paperless, Period!
“When I moved I did not connect my printer back to the computer that was a year ago!! Just go for it, paperless contracts, online document sharing, blogs, social media, there is simply no need to print! Just DON’T do it!” (Jen, Eco-Office Gals)
70. Switch to E-Invites
“Invitations for any function can be made as an e-invite. It is more likely to reach the invitee quickly and saves on paper cost.” (Kamalika)
71. Transmit Electronic Documentation
“We provide General Contracting and Construction Management for business. The construction process is very documentation oriented. By utilizing Microsoft Office products combined with the output from Autocad and Adobe Acrobat, we are able to facilitate all of the necessary contracts, forms responses, meeting minutes, contracts, change orders, requests for information, and submittals of products for approval, shop drawings and other documentation using electronic means of transmission.” (Jonathan Shanes, Construction North)
72. Provide PDF Brochures
“Provide brochures and estimates as PDF documents. When visiting a new client I bring my laptop with me. It has wireless broadband Internet. I simply email the brochure, estimate and other information to client’s computer. I don’t have to spend money on paper that the client may or may not want. If the client wants the document printed out they can print it out in color on their home computer. Otherwise they can view it electronically. Not only does this save money but clients appreciate getting something right there in their inbox.” (MaryAnn Markus, MaryAnn’s Home Staging)
73. Post Meeting Minutes Online
“We post committee and board meeting minutes in a password protected area on our website rather than printing and mailing.” (Summer Foster, Michigan Osteopathic Association)
74. Provide Conference Materials Online
“Provide conference materials and presentations online in the cloud or in a mobile app. Even the schedule and agenda can be handled this way. No paper needed. And besides, attendees aren’t weighted down carrying around bags, papers or folders — all of which end up in trash cans anyway.
75. Add a Green Note to Emails
“One of the simplest tips that has had the greatest impact internally and we believe on others outside our business as well is simply adding a small green tree to the bottom of our signature line in all of our emails with the following message: Consider the environment. Please print this email only if necessary. We find ourselves being more mindful before printing an email and we’ve heard from people who have received our emails that it made more mindful about printing themselves.” (Israela Adah Brill-Cass, @brillcass)
Adopt Sustainability Practices
76. Purchase Wind Power
“Contact your power company to see if they offer wind energy as an option. For a few dollars more per month we are purchasing wind power instead of non-renewable sources.” (April Femrite)
77. Go Back to Wooden Pencils
“I believe it’s time to return to using the old but faithful #2 wood pencil. How many pens to you through away each year? The wood pencil does the same job as the pen except when you need to sign any “legal” documents.” (Tami M. Pederson)
78. Buy an Energy-Efficient Laptop
“The best green business tip I can offer, is to become a real supporter of the industrial revolution. Use cost effective, energy-efficient products that are a result of inventors, business owners and capitalists. I think we will see new super compact computers like ultra efficient notebooks / laptops instead of “clunky” big PCs in the future. All will use less energy. The trend is that people are buying laptops instead of PCs.” (Martin Lindeskog, Egoist International Business Coordinator)
79. Promote the Three Rs of Green Practices
“Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There are the three Rs and are on their way to becoming good business practice for many small businesses for going green. Promoting green practices can be helpful to your business success.” (Red Hot Franchises)
80. Less Is More: Use It or Lose It
“We at Say Leadership Coaching adopted this mantra as part of our Core Initiatives: “Less is more: Use it or lose it.” It started out as clutter-busting to streamline the office environment and move toward more mobile and virtual work. However once we’d warmed up with the usual material culprits we turned our attention to all our business practices – outdated coaching/teaching curriculum, workshop exercises we were tiring of – just about everything. We have found the mantra is helping us break auto-pilot routines and put any sacred cows out to pasture where they belong. Going “green” in your thought processes can release a lot of creativity and banish complacency.” (Rosa Say, Talking Story)
81. Use Green Cleaning Products
“Green clean your office. Replacing one non-green cleaning product can have dramatic consequences. There are green cleaning choices for every cleaning job but let’s focus on windows.
Example: One concentrated bottle of window cleaner can replace 728 bottles of a popular window cleaner that is not green. The toxins, chemicals and fumes would not be in the air of the office anymore, and the biodegradable green window cleaner is better for the environment. On top of that, the concentrated bottle costs about $10.00 and $3.00 for a spray bottle to add your own water to the two drops that are required to make a very effective window cleaner; the 728 bottles cost $3,232.32 at a discount store. That’s a money savings of over $3,200.00!
Last, the cost to manufacture and ship the 728 bottles in terms of environmental pollution is eliminated, as well as the space they take in landfills. This one very easy to do green alternative saves money, is healthier, and helps the environment. How is that for a Win-Win-Win suggestion?” (Vicki, Go Green)
82. Buy Eco-Friendly Banners
“Buy promotional banners that are made out of recycled pop bottles and printed with water-based ink.”
83. Send Electronic Greeting Cards
“Save a tree! For the next holiday season, or special occasions like birthdays, send clients and other business contacts electronic greetings instead of paper.”
84. Use Recyclable Containers
“All restaurants, for takeout purposes, should provide containers made from non-plastic containers or at the very least recyclable containers. You still see too much Styrofoam, plastic lids, and hard plastic containers everywhere! Also utensils made from cornstarch or potatoes are great!” (Natasha K)
85. Shop Local
“Shop and support local companies by shopping locally. You save on emissions and help the local economies.” (Stacey Rose, Storey Kenworthy)
86. Upgrade Your Equipment
“Replace your ancient equipment! Computers are in every office and they stay on for hours at a time. Make sure yours is energy efficient. Take a look at the EnergyStar.gov site to help you choose the right one.” (Yiana Palacios, Design Leap)
87. Use Rechargeable Batteries
“Use rechargeable batteries in your wireless mouse / keyboard, prevents all those batteries from filling landfills.” (Simon Heseltine)
88. Monitor Your Practices
“Small businesses should monitor their sustainability practices, and tell employees and customers about what they are doing to go green. By reporting it highlights the business’s commitment to sustainability. In turn, you as the owner, your employees and your business as a whole will become more sustainable simply by paying attention to it.”
89. Buy Environmentally Friendly Supplies
“Buy environmentally friendly supplies. Yes, they may cost a bit more. But the more people who buy them, the more affordable for everyone they will become.”
90. Update Trade Show Displays
“Save money and help the environment by selecting (or switching to) light weight portable displays using fabric graphic displays created with low-VOC inks. What makes them green? Key points:
- less impact on environment from low-VOC inks,
- less impact from aluminum or aluminum alloy frames, and
- significantly less gasoline/carbon used in shipping due to lower weights.”
(Deborah Elms, Imprinted Originals)
91. Switch to Fluorescent Bulbs
“For larger manufacturing facilities, they could have $50,000 in savings and help the environment by switching all their halogen bulbs to fluorescent bulbs!” (Kirby Beaver)
92. Green Your Business Rewards
“Looking for unusual green business tips? Here’s one. Instead of giving “things” as gifts or awards … offer experiences, tickets to events or privileges within the company.”
93. Ask Employees and Customers for Green Suggestions
“Create a Green Suggestion Box and place it somewhere with a lot of workplace traffic, in a very visible location. Make reviewing – and implementing- the suggestions a regular part of the workplace routine. You’ll find many smart, money saving tips flow in on a regular basis, ones that are tailor made for your workplace.
Give people a way to share green business tips, and believe it or not, they usually will.” (Jooled, Andzia’s Amber Jewelry)
94. Make Going Green Fun
“Make going green fun for the entire office. For the best green business ideas, give awards, time off or coupons for energy efficient appliances. But by all means, please do not form another committee!” (Ron Reed)
95. Buy Used or Refurbished
“Always buy used or refurbished equipment. Save it from the landfill while also saving money!” (Tim Grahl, Out:Think)
96. Get Some Office Plants
“Have one plant for every 100 square feet of office space. This allows you to naturally filter your air in the office. It also seems to brighten the tone of the office when you have other living things like office plants.” (Naomi Heimeyer, Redwood Ranch)
97. Look into Commercial Solar Systems
“Look into affordable commercial solar systems that could be put on the roof of your company. Not only do most states offer great incentives and low interest loans for solar systems, but the payback period can be under 10 years in many cases. It looks great and shows a company’s serious commitment to going green.” (Kevin, Boston Green Building)
98. Set Up Home-Based Call Centers
“If you operate a call center, consider setting up a home-based agent program. REI, a Seattle-based outdoor retailer, analyzed their entire business and concluded that employee commutes were by far their largest contribution to pollution. By setting up a home-based agent program, they reduced the environmental impact of their operations. Even more exciting, they reduced their overall call center costs.” (Matt Storey, Direct Interactions, Inc.)
99. Use Recycled Paper Products
“Switch to recycled toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.” (Sadie Stocks, Home Works Remodeling)
100. Use Biodegradable Packaging
“Products should be packed in biodegradable packaging. There is too much plastic and Styrofoam in packaging.”
Bonus green business tip: Do Electronic Signatures
“An electronic signature app saves paper and ink, as you don’t have to print anything out and sign it physically. It’s faster, too! We’ve gotten sales contracts signed in as little as a half an hour. We don’t have to follow up for days or weeks to get a simple document signed.” (Anita Campbell)
Image credits: DepositPhotos.com
@Sarah Bradley I use the draft print option, but I hadn’t heard of Eco-Font. Is it a default font or do I need to download it from somewhere?
Anita, What a great list…
Does everybody realize that if only 25% of us did at least a few of these things, not only would we save money, but we would be doing a world of good.
(Or is that doing good for the world?)
The Franchise King
These are all great suggestions….everyone should try to utilize them.
There are a number I had not thought of and must do.
Great list Anita.
Fantastic information… who knew that turning off power strips could save that much money.
Director of Business Development
Anita and Staci:
Thanks for including my tip. Martin
I would like to thank the team behind Small Biz Trends for including my tip in this big list of 100 Green Small Business Tips.
“Turn off your laptop and resist from turning it on during conferences, meetups or other networking events. The purpose of attending a networking event is to have conversations with people. Keep the work at your office.”
Superb list of tips everyone!
Robert, I was intrigued by Eco-Font also. You can download it at [Edited by Editor]
Excellent, easy to implement tips. I had never heard of EcoFont. Very cool concept.
Great list SmallBizTrends! My favourite has to be “Wash Work Clothes Less Often”… Now that’s thinking outside the box!!
I’ve got a great + super simple green business tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card– go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 millions lbs of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. Hope that helped. 🙂 [Edited by Editor]
Ive been trying to tell my university lecturers to go paperless and force us to stop writing all these notes, but no…they don’t care about the environment!
What a wonderful post!
The tips are useful not only for ecology but also for the budget! Several weeks ago, I wrote about 7 tips for small business to save money in the very beginning… The article is in english, but I can translate it for Your blog, if you want.
These kind of tips should be shared with the larger businesses out there!
Not only would they cut their costs back and make massive savings, but the benefits experienced by the environment would be astronomical!
Having seen the way most large corporates operate, it would ruin someones hard earned budget to incorporate methods to save money like this. Hopefully some compliance teams will see sence and read this article.
London Beauty Salon
At our London Salon we implemented the following;
1) For every day an employee used public transport they got an extra 12 minutes holiday, that totaled 1 hr a week – doesn’t sound much but added up to an extra 48 hours or over 1 weeks worth of holiday and encourages less car use.
2) We started to use Enjo cleaning equipment – no chemicals and eco friendly all round.
3) Went LED lights and low voltage lighting where possible
4) Let hair dry naturally for 30-50 minutes whilst applying other treatments to clients. Then when we go to dry hair it’s already a little drier – saves quite a lot on the drying time. Obviously, we can’t do it for every style of hair, but every little helps.
5) Only launder full loads.
6) Turn AC down by 1 degree
7) Lower the cut-out limiter on our Sauna by 5 degrees (no one even noticed!)
8) More mirrors on certain walls reflects light into our lounging area and we cut the lights on bright days.
Not a huge amount but our building is restricted on what we can / can’t do so we have to make savings as we can.
If you’re looking to start your own eco-friendly, green industry business, consider any of these ideas above. Keep up the great work! Thank you so much for sharing great posts.