5 Ways Green Businesses Can Save Big Money (And How to Start)
Green businesses have a lot to gain from operating sustainably.
Being an eco-warrior on the homefront can definitely save you money, but it’s more about doing your bit for the planet.
For businesses, the incentive has to affect their bottom line as well as their conscience before they buy into the idea.
You can’t blame them. After all, they’re in business to make a profit.
Fortunately, saving money by going green is easier than ever. Plus, it has the added advantage of looking good on your company’s resumé.
With more and more people looking to support sustinable businesses, why not humble brag about your efforts, right?
How Green Businesses Can Save Mucho Moolah
When you’re in business your bottom line is important. However, a lot of companies tend to overlook the positive impact operating more sustainably can have on their bank account.
I get it, you need to spend your time on the billable tasks. But once you have these examples in place you’ll benefit from the savings without having to spend a lot of time on them.
1. Ditch the Office and Work From Home
We should have been working from home long before the pandemic, but hopefully lockdown has shown the laggards that not only is it doable, it actually makes more sense.
Ditching the office can save aspiring green businesses a ton of money on everything from rent and utilities to office supplies like coffee, toilet paper and healthy vegan snacks.
Although, the latter can definitely be FedExed to employees at their home.
According to Global Workplace Analytics: Sun Microsystems saves $68 million a year in real estate costs. It’s not only the big guys who can save big. GWA says the average real estate savings with full-time telework is $10,000/employee/year.
Remote working also reduces unscheduled absences, increases productivity and improves employee satisfaction. All in all, it’s a win/win/win/win.
There is, however, one small caveat with having your employees come to work in their pyjama jeans. You have no control over the security (or lack thereof) of their wifi. If the worst happens, you need to have systems in place to remove the malware before it can cause too much damage.
2. Buy Second Hand Office Furniture
If you absolutely must have an office, then kit it out with used desks and chairs. A lot of people still balk at the idea of buying second-hand anything, but it can easily cut your furniture costs in half, plus it reduces landfill waste.
According to sustainability expert Jennifer Schwab, the greenest thing you can do is buy reused furniture. Personally, I’m all for going the previously loved route. With a bit of elbow grease, some sanding and a fresh coat of paint, you can turn ‘new to you’ to new in next to no time.
3. Take Your Recycling Efforts up a Notch
Most people nowadays recycle, but what percentage of recycling actually gets recycled? Sadly, not very much. It’s easy to point fingers, but it’s not helpful or productive. A more practical solution is to up your recycling efforts.
It’s better for the environment and it could even earn you some extra cash. There are places that will buy your office waste, cardboard recycling, scrap metal, glass recyclables, etc.
Of course, it depends on the business you’re in and the type and amount of waste you create. But it’s worth looking into if your company routinely creates large piles of waste.
4. Bid Farewell to Bottled Water
There’s been enough of a fuss made in the media about bottled water for us to know we shouldn’t be using it. But a lot of companies still prefer this option because it’s convenient.
As someone who chooses where to live based on the number of coffee shops in the vicinity, I’m all for making life easy. But not if it’s at the expense of the environment.
Removing bottled water from the office equation can save green businesses a lot of money. Your accounts department will thank you and so will the planet. Instead, you can install a water cooler and buy your staff reusable bottles. You can also ask clients to BYOB.
5. Go Paperless Already (It’s Not 1994)
It’s 2021 and yet, there are still printers and fax machines lurking in our midst. It’s as if we’re printing out the user-manual for the spacecraft that will take us to Mars.
I’m imagining Jeff and Elon faxing edits to one another.
Old schoolers don’t want to hear it, but going digital can save you big. A report from Forest Ethics found that companies saved tons of paper and thousands of dollars by upping their paperless game.
If there’s absolutely no way around it, at least make sure that you’re printing on recycled paper. You can also cut down on paper waste by incentivising employees to relay messages digitally.
Implementing an online employee expense management system is another way to keep things in the cloud and avoid unnecessary printing and filing. Especially now that so many stores have the option to receive receipts digitally.
Going paperless also means there’s less chance of losing or misfiling your documents. Yes, this can occur in the cloud as well, but it’s much easier to relocate missing files up there. Plus, there’s no chance of spilling coffee all over them.
Ready to Green Up Your Business?
Greening up your business might seem daunting at the outset. Change is uncomfortable and time-consuming. But don’t let that dissuade you from becoming more eco-conscious in the workplace.
Tackle the issue like you would any new work project. Map out what needs to be done, identify a team to run with it and put measurable milestones in place to hold everyone accountable.
Celebrate the wins as you rack them up. And if you find yourself at a loss, look to other green businesses for tips and inspiration. Remember why you’re doing this. You’re saving money but you’re also saving the planet.
How awesome is that?
Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels