Although the constraints of many small business often preclude the grand sustainability gestures of larger corporations, there are many things that these businesses can do to be more sustainable. Here is a summary of ten easy and inexpensive things that small businesses can do from Miratel:
1. Go as paperless as possible. Be mindful when printing an email, document or report and consider whether it is really necessary. When possible, print double-sided and in black and white.
2. Keep a running count of the pages you print off – it’s just like calorie counting. You’ll be more cognizant of your consumption.
3. Activate your computer’s standby/sleep/hibernate settings to reduce energy when not in use and power it off completely at the end of each work day Power down all other electronics when not in use. Take it a step further by unplugging them when not in use which will save additional energy
4. Eliminate all disposable dishes, cups and utensils and stock a communal set of dishes, drinking glasses and cutlery in the staff lunch room.
5. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer (by 1 to 2 degrees). Every degree represent a 5% reduction in use.
6. Encourage packing a lunch and going meatless one day per week. It will save money and the environment by reducing your carbon footprint by 28.5%.
7. Ban plastic water bottles and provide staff with reusable water bottles and filtered tap water.
8. Encourage employees to take public transit or carpool.
9. Switch to energy efficient lighting fixtures that use T5 fluorescents bulbs rather than traditional fluorescents.
10. Use green, toxin-free cleaning products.
Small Businesses Can Benefit from the Growing Green Market Too
Green Guide for SMEs from the Carbon Trust
GRI Certified Sustainability Reporting for Small Business
GRI Underutilized by Canadian SMEs
Cost Benefit Analysis of Sustainable Business
Small Business, Green Technology and Creativity
Black the New Green: The Power of Small Gestures
Guide to Implementing Environmental Compliance
Helping Small Business Accept US Cap-and-Trade
Small Business Guide to Social Media
Twitter for Small Business