50 Ways to Make Your Business Greener This Year

50 Ways for Your Small Business to Be Greener This Year

If one of your 2017 resolutions is to make your business greener, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of ways you can improve your business practices to help the environment. And as a bonus, many of these improvements can also save your business some money. Here are 50 different ways you can make your business greener in the new year.

Ways to Be Greener at Work

Utilize Natural Light

Whether you work in a traditional office, at home or another setting, access to natural light can help you conserve energy. Make sure you have windows that are unobstructed so you can use less artificial light and heat.

Invest in Light Timers

You might also be able to cut down on the amount of electricity you use at work by installing motion sensors on timers so that the lights go off automatically if no one’s in the room.

Consider Desk Lamps

If you have an office with just a few people, or if people tend to work at different times, you might opt for desk lamps instead of overhead lighting so you don’t have to have the whole space lit for just a couple people at a time.

Sign Up for Paperless Billing

For any banking or other accounts you hold, sign up for paperless billing so you get statements via email instead of wasting paper.

Only Print Essentials

When printing your own items, make sure everything is absolutely essential before using up paper on hard copies. Save other documents to the cloud.

Use Both Sides of Paper

You can also save paper by printing on both sides of the paper whenever possible.

Buy Recycled Paper

There are also plenty of recycled paper options you can purchase to cut down on the resources needed for those items you do have to print.

Put a Green Reminder in Your Email Signature

To encourage others to save paper as well, you can put a simple reminder in the signature of your emails to ask people to only print essential emails.

Distribute Reusable Bottles

To cut down on bottled water use or paper cups in your office, you could distribute reusable bottles or thermoses to employees so they can just refill those instead.

Remove Your Business From Mailing Lists

If you receive a lot of junk mail to your business, take a minute to remove yourself from any mailing lists you’re signed up for that aren’t necessary.

Update Your Own Mailing Lists

You can also save money and resources by sending out less direct mail from your business. Simply updating your mailing list so that it doesn’t include anyone who hasn’t done business with you in years can save you a lot of time, money and paper.

Use Power Strips

You can better manage the electricity use in your business by connecting devices to power strips.

Turn Off Electronics

And of course, whenever you’re not using computers or other electronics, make sure they’re turned off and/or unplugged.

Enable Sleep Mode Where Possible

For some devices, you might also be able to turn on sleep mode so that they turn off automatically when not in use.

Buy Energy Efficient Models

There are also some energy efficient electronics and appliances that you can get for your office to cut down on the amount of energy needed to run them.

Change Your Light Bulbs

You can also buy energy efficient light bulbs that last longer and throw more light with less energy.

Adjust Your Thermostat

During the summer months, increase the temperature on your thermostat a couple of degrees. And then decrease the temperature during the winter to save on heating and cooling.

Consider a Smart Thermostat

There are also some smart thermostats that can adjust to your office habits and help you save money and use less energy overall.

Allow Employees to Telecommute

If it’s possible for your employees to work from home, even on occasion, that can help the environment because you’ll need less energy in your office and employees won’t need to drive back and forth to work.

Consider a Four-Day Week

You might even consider enacting a four-day work week for your staff so they can all cut down on their commutes each week.

Limit In-Person Meetings

If you ever have to travel to meetings or have people travel to meet with you, consider having those meetings online instead to cut down on transportation.

Bike to Work

You could also consider biking to work to cut down on your carbon footprint. And encourage your team to do the same.

Skip the Office Altogether

In some cases, your business might be able to function without any type of official office. You can cut down on your use of resources by simply collaborating with your team online or using coworking spaces.

Collect Paper to Recycle

You can also start an office recycling program to recycle old documents and other paper items.

Reuse Ink Cartridges

And when your printer runs out of ink, you can get your cartridges refilled instead of buying new ones, saving both money and resources.

Donate Old Electronics

You can also collect old electronics and take them to proper recycling venues or trading them in instead of throwing them away.

Provide Recycling Bins

And in your kitchen or other shared office spaces, you can provide recycling bins to make it easy for your team members to recycle other items like bottles and cans.


You can also use things like coffee grounds from your office kitchen to create compost for growing food.

Start a Rooftop Garden

You might even start a garden on the roof of your office or any other outdoor space you might have. It could be a fun respite for you and your team as well.

Buy Fair Trade Coffee

When stocking your office kitchen with coffee and similar items, you can purchase organic or fair trade products to ensure there’s less of a negative environmental impact.

Go Organic for Office Lunches

And when you take your team or clients out to lunch, find some local restaurants with organic or natural food options.

Get an Energy Audit

Many businesses or government agencies offer free or low-cost energy audits. You can have them visit your business and tell you ways you might be wasting energy.

Support Local Vendors

When sourcing products or services for your business, going with local providers can cut down on the transportation and other resources used.

Look For Eco-Friendly Vendors

You can also research which potential vendors have eco-friendly practices and choose to support those vendors.

Use Rechargeable Batteries

Whenever possible, buying rechargeable batteries for your electronics can help you save time and energy.

Buy Refurbished Tech

When buying new computers or other electronics, you can purchase refurbished models instead of new ones, since they’re basically recycled.

Repurpose Office Furniture

And when purchasing furniture for your office, consider checking out second hand stores to reduce your carbon footprint even further.

Look Into Solar Energy

If you’re looking for a more impactful way to help the environment, you might look into solar power for your business. Prices are getting lower, so it might be feasible for you to install some solar panels.

Recycle Your Actual Office

Some businesses also choose to get creative with their actual office spaces, using old shipping containers or repurposing other non-traditional spaces that might otherwise go unused.

Use Energy Efficient Transportation

If you need transportation for your business, consider buying electric or hybrid vehicles if possible.

Start a Carpooling Program

You might also consider starting a carpooling program to encourage ridesharing among your team.

Seal Your Windows

To cut down on the amount of heat or AC that escapes through your windows, you can seal the area around them or even cover them in plastic through the winter months.

Insulate With Rugs

You can also seal in more heat by using area rugs around your office so you can potentially use less energy to keep your space warm.

Consider Small AC Units

During the summer, you might be able to use less energy overall if you use small AC units instead of paying to keep the entire space cool throughout the entire season.

Use Green Cleaning Products

There are also plenty of eco-friendly cleaning products that you can use to keep your office clean instead of opting for harsh chemical products.

Green Your Team Building Activities

When coming up with team building activities for your staff, consider a green activity like cleaning up a local park or planting a tree together.

Hold Events Nearby

And if you have any other special events with your team or clients, you can cut down on transportation costs and emissions by making sure they’re at least somewhat close to all parties involved.

Use the Cloud

Cloud technology gives you the opportunity to save documents, communicate with your team and do so much more, all without using extra resources like paper and ink.

Use Online Advertising

You can also cut down on the resources needed to advertise your business by choosing online options rather than print or outdoor ads.

Monitor Your Energy Bills

And throughout the year, you can simply monitor your energy bills to see if there are any areas where you could improve.

Think Green Photo via Shutterstock

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.