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100 Green Small Business Tips

100 green small business tipsBack in September, we asked our readers to contribute their best green business tips.  We wanted you to share your ideas for going green in your small business.

As usual, the Small Business Trends readers came through. We were able to collect 100 awesome green small business tips.  We listed all 100 tips below which have been divided into 4 categories; Conserve, Recycle, Go Paperless and Adopt Green Practices. Please click through all of the pages (above or below the post) to see all 100 of the green small business tips.

If you prefer, you can also download all 100 green small business tips as a PDF document: 100 Green Small Business Tips.

Without further delay, here are 100 green small business tips for your small business with the contributor’s name, website and Twitter handle included.


Use a Power Strip Joel Libava, The Franchise King, @FranchiseKing

“Turn off your PC’s power strip every night. Saves over $150 a year!”


Take Advantage of Natural Lighting Susan Oakes, M4B Marketing, @m4bmarketing

“Position your desk to capture all the sunlight when possible.”


Limit Your Printing Kathy Breitenbucher, The Pedestal Group, @k_breitenbucher

“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!”


Try an eFax Service Matt Cowall, Appia Communications

“If you still need to fax documents, retire the old paper machine in favor of a scanner or eFax service. No more separate paper, toner, power and maintenance, and you only print the ones you really need to (if any).”


Turn Off Your Wireless Mouse Amanda Stillwagon, My Finds Online, @myfindsonline

“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.”


Say No to Shopping Bags Todd Allison, www.toddallison.com, @todd_allison

“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!”


Power Down Your Electronics Angela, HP, www.hp.com, @AngelaAtHP

“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, because they consumer energy even when the equipment is shut off. But be sure to power down all equipment connected to the power strip first.

You can find more tips at hp.com/PowerToChange”


Collect Data on Your Usage Amounts Barry Benjamin, Going Green

“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.”


Encourage Telecommuting Nichole Wesson

“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.”


Adjust Your Thermostat Jane A.

“Adjust your thermostat! Set it at 74 to save on air conditioning. Nobody is going to cook at a few degrees warmer temps. In the winter, set it at 70.”


Conserve Energy Jeff Yablon, Answer Guy Central

“Turn out the lights you don’t need on!”


Schedule Day Time Events Lynn, Celebrate Green

“Stage events during the time of day when the least amount of electricity is used for both lighting and heat or air conditioning.”


Unplug Appliances Not In Use Adam, buildingctgreen.com/AuggieVGreenBlog

“Pull out all power chargers that aren’t charging something and coffee makers that aren’t brewing. Phantom loads add up!!”


Get a Free Energy Audit Becky McCray, Small Biz Survival, @BeckyMcCray

“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.”


Try a Four Day Work Week Ron Reed, @themortgagedoc

“Work 10 hr 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).”


Utilize Natural Light Ron Reed, @themortgagedoc

“Learn to properly utilize natural light sources in the winter (warmth) and in the summer (keep area cool).”


Use Both Sides of Printer Paper Brian Moran, Small Business Edge, @brianmoran

“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.”


Enable Remote Access Eddie Gear, Genuine SEO

“Enable remote access to applications to facilitate home and on-the-road working to cut commutes.”


Adjust Printer Setup Kamalika

“Adjust your default print setup for double sided prints.”


Limit Air Conditioning Susie Sharp, Morand Architects, Inc., @SusieSharp

“Open the windows during the days whenever possible and turn the A/C off. A/C and heat are never left on at night or on weekends.”


Install Hot Water on Demand Jarrod Harms, Detour Salon & Store

“Install hot water on demand, eliminating constant heating of a water tank.”

Eliminate Bottled Water

“Install a drinking water filtration system reducing the amount of plastic bottles and the gas used for delivery.”


Work From Home Cameron Smith, Interlinks

“Working from home has saved me heaps on transportation costs, and saved many car trips.”


Limit Meetings Sharon Minchuk, Splash Events

“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.”


Bike to Work Anne-Marie Bonneau, theeconomator.blogspot.com, @AnnMarieBonneau

“There’s now a tax credit for employees commuting to work–it’s called the Bicycle Commuter Act. Not only will employees reduce greenhouse gas production by riding to work, they will get their exercise en route, and save money not only on gas, but through the tax break. You can offer this tax break to your employees and make a big impact on the environment, all the while saving up to 9.5% of your FICA contributions by participating in the commuter program.”


Block Junk Faxes Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D., Flora Brown Associates, @florabrown

“I recently bought a new scanner/fax that has a junk fax blocker. Now I enter the phone number of junk faxes and block that number from ever sending faxes again that use up my paper and ink. I seldom get a junk fax anymore.”


Install Eco-Font Sarah Bradley, Help Ahoy, @SJABradley

“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.”


Print Smaller Business Cards Max Bielenberg, Dan4, Inc., @dan4inc

“When you need more, design and print smaller business cards. 2 11/16 by 1 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.”


Purchase Reconditioned Office Furniture Danita Blackwood, SBTV.com, @DanitaBlackwood

“Purchase used and reconditioned office furniture or store fixtures – available through local firms – and donate furnishings when you remodel.”


Eliminate a Few Fluorescent Bulbs Kylie Gates, WSMH FOX 66

“Each of our florescent light fixtures held 4 florescent tubes…we pulled two. I hardly makes a difference in the light and uses 1/2 the energy.”


Offer Electronic Software Downloads Carolyn Craven, Checkbox Survey, @checkbox_craven

“We only send physical software CD’s to customers who ask for them and really need them – everyone else receives their software through electronic delivery. This saves on wasted CD’s, packaging, and the energy/emissions used to deliver them.”


Turn Off Your Monitor Sunit Pareek, CorpoAlert, @friend_sunit

“A very simple and important TIP is to turn off your Monitor when not in use or Put your system on Standby.  If you can, then instead of Standby try using the Hibernate option available in Windows.”

Eliminate Unused Computer Programs

“You should note that the extra programs running in the background eat up your system resources, which requires more electricity thereby heating your system which releases more heat for the environment to fight with.”


Keep Laptops Off During Conferences Wayne Liew, www.wayneliew.com, @WayneLiew

“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.”


Work Without Your Computer Marcia B, Marcia B Consulting

“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!”


Make Turning Off Electronics Easier With a Power Strip Denise Taschereau, Fairware Promotional Products Ltd., @FairwarePromo

“A simple trick for making it easy to turn off monitors, printers, shredders, chargers, etc 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!”


Use Software as a Service Jeff Cobado, Brain Trust Technologies LLC

“Software as a Service, often referred to as Saas, is web based software solutions.  By having software hosted elsewhere this reduces power consumption by not having the hardware on-site or centralized.”


Shutdown Workstations During Meetings Claudio Aricó, Bachicha

“Every time we have meetings/brainstorming/creative sessions, we simply go to the old and loving pencil & paper…. and shut down all the computers, printers, scanners, etc.

Let´s calculate: 1 hour (minimum) a day, five hours in a working week, 20 in a month, 250 hours in a year…. Great!”


Put Laptop AC Adapters on a Power Strip John Thompson, Global Learning Institute, Inc.

“To maximize your energy savings using a laptop, put your AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off as the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.”

Switch to Online Classes

“Switch your face-to-face classes to online classes because online learning uses 90% less energy.”


Wash Work Clothes Less Often Jane Anderson, CU*Answers, @cuanswers

“Wear your clothes (outerwear) and use towels more than once.  Come on, unless you work where you sweat or pick up contaminates, does that outfit really need to go through the laundry?”

Use Desk Lamps

“Turn off the 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.”

Continued on next page . . . 23 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder 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, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

23 Reactions

  1. Joel Libava

    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
    Joel Libava

  2. @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?

  3. There are a number I had not thought of and must do.
    Great list Anita.

  4. Unlimited Free Publicity

    These are all great suggestions….everyone should try to utilize them.

  5. Fantastic information… who knew that turning off power strips could save that much money.

    Matthew Trogdon
    Director of Business Development
    OnMessage Inc.

  6. Martin Lindeskog

    Anita & Staci:

    Thanks for including my tip (page 3):

    • Buy a Laptop – Martin Lindeskog, Egoist International Business Coordinator, @lyceum

    “The best way to help the environment, i.e., your surroundings, is to become a real supporter of the industrial revolution and use cost effective products that is a result of inventors, business owners and capitalists. I think we will see new super compact computer like ultra efficient notebooks / laptops instead of “clunky” big PCs in the future. The trend is that people are buying laptops instead of PCs. It will be interesting to follow the battery manufacturer, Boston Power, in its quest for the “next-generation lithium-ion battery technology platform.”

  7. 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.”

  8. Superb list of tips everyone!

    Robert, I was intrigued by Eco-Font also. You can download it at http://www.ecofont.com/.

  9. Excellent, easy to implement tips. I had never heard of EcoFont. Very cool concept.

  10. Great list SmallBizTrends! My favourite has to be “Wash Work Clothes Less Often”… Now that’s thinking outside the box!!

  11. I’ve got a great + super simple 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. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, try http://www.giftzip.com …it is the most extensive one I have found to date. Hope that helped. 🙂

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. London Beauty Salon

    At our London Beauty Salon we implemented the following;
    1) For every day an employee used public transport they got an extra 12 minutes holiday, that totalled 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. (http://enjoblog.blogspot.com/ – our rep’s blog)
    3) Went LED lights and low volatge lighting where possible
    4) Let hair dry naturally for 30-50 minutes whilst applying other treatments to clients (we’re a London Beauty Salon) then when we go to dry hair it’s already a little drier – saves quite a lot on the drying time obv 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/when we can.

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