Does your business use eco-friendly business practices? It means using resources that show a commitment to an environmentally sustainable future. Green or eco-friendly companies endeavor to have a positive impact on the environment and the community they serve.
This can be accomplished through implementing specific strategies or practices, from recycling to sourcing local products to promote energy. Here are some eco friendly business practices you can institute to make sure you have eco-friendly business practices at work for you.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Clean Water
Researchers have developed sustainable wastewater treatment services that are made from agricultural and industrial wastes. The United Nations states that two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water-deprived conditions by the year 2025. The pressure on the quality and quantity of available water in certain areas could impact the production of goods such as clothing and cars. It could lead to a higher illness rate and energy and food shortages.
One way to accomplish this is through wastewater reuse. The European Union’s REMEB project had the vision to create a sustainable, low-cost wastewater treatment system using a membrane bioreactor (MBR) using ceramic membranes made from recycled materials.
Business owners should remind their employees to conserve water and energy whenever possible. Although it may seem out of date, putting up signs around the workspace helps to remind everyone to conserve whenever possible.
Restaurants have begun to refrain from serving water to their patrons unless they request it. Many hotels are doing their part by installing low-flow faucets and aerated showerheads. It is reported that Caesars Entertainment saved 50 million gallons of water in some of its properties between 2008 and 2013. This water-saving initiative, along with employee education, a towel reuse plan, introducing water-saving laundry equipment, and other conversation improvements, helped Caesars Entertainment save $1.5 million in water costs over the five-year period.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Clean Air
Businesses that maintain their heat, air conditioning, and ventilation on a regular basis eliminate waste through inefficiency. When is the right time to hire an air quality consultant to help with an air quality permit? Typically a company will seek external advice when their company does not have internal resources to handle a potential problem.
The consultant will discuss the company’s operations and the impact of regulations in the project’s early stages. The air quality consultant will also provide the regulatory and technical analyses required to obtain an air quality permit. They will assist with selecting, purchasing, installing, and the start-up of pollution control machinery.
The consultant will handle tasks such as facility audits, regulatory reports, permit applications, analytical tests, training of employees, etc. He will also expedite the permit process, negotiate the permit conditions, and provide specific expertise related to the air quality permit preparation.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Reduced Energy Usage
Energy management is another component of a well-run business. Do you know the monthly energy usage in your factory? Experts state that the real energy drains in manufacturing, for example, are related to heating and air conditioning. Additional drains on the energy would be systems such as fans, pumps, material processing, compressed air, and handling. Here are some suggestions that a business can use to reduce energy consumption.
- Confer with a commercial electrician. See if they will provide free lighting audits and rebates for some of the expenses related to installing energy-efficient equipment.
- Add motion-sensitive light switches.
- Machines sitting idle are an unneeded expense.
- Do not cool areas of the business that are unused. Close overhead doors and provide shading over windows that can result in lower HVAC costs.
- Air compressors are one of the largest users of electricity in manufacturing facilities. Obtain a free or low-cost evaluation of your system.
- Ensure that all equipment is maintained correctly. It can reduce energy consumption by more than 10% by making sure tensioned fan belts and greased fittings and bearings are adequately maintained.
- Fans used in manufacturing are very inefficient. Turn off or slow down unneeded fans. A 25% energy savings can result from slowing down a fan by only 10%.
- Eliminate electrical service to unused appliances like computers.
- Reduce rework and scrap.
- Increase the efficiency of hot water heaters that are rarely used by turning them down or wrapping them with increased insulation.
- Consider installing solar panel systems to reduce energy costs. Most people prefer to do business with an environmentally responsible company.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Interior Natural Greenery
Within a corporate environment, natural foliage and flowers enhance the impression of your business. Walkways, exterior facades, and interior walls adorned with greenery offer a more professional, welcoming, and relaxed ambiance for potential customers and visitors to your company.
There are more ways your business can make a positive impact by adding greenery.
- Indoor plants improve air quality. Studies have shown that the amount of dust in a room was reduced by as much as 20% when plants are present. They also found that the relative humidity rose as plants were added, improving human health and comfort. Low humidity makes it easier for visitors and employees to catch colds.
- Plants can reduce some sounds in both an interior or exterior environment. A plant-covered wall will absorb sounds and reduce sound reflection and echo effects. Planters properly placed can minimize crowd noise in public and communal spaces.
- The presence of plants can increase the well-being of visiting customers and employees. Studies have shown that a short walk among the trees can boost the level of contentment. Increasing the amount of greenery throughout the interior of your business produces the same effect.
- Studies have shown that employees were about 15% more productive in offices that were enriched by the presence of plants. When an employee is able to see a plant from their workspace, their performance improved. Many companies now invest in plant rentals to further enhance productivity and employee engagement.
- As many businesses have unsightly architectural features on the exterior they would rather keep hidden, trellising panels provide an attractive and protective wall of greenery. It improves the aesthetics of the building and provides a shield from the harmful effects of weather. In the hot summer months, it prevents the full heat of the sun from reaching the building’s walls. In the winter, a blanket of foliage traps a layer of air against the building reducing heat loss from inside the building.
- Attracting, obtaining, and retaining top talent is vital for any company. Employee satisfaction in the environment in which they work is also very crucial. Studies have shown that the positive effects greenery provides around the workplace leads to employee contentment and increases retention levels. A happier employee is more creative, productive, and loyal.
Bringing the natural world into the corporate space provides many benefits, from air quality improvement and conserved energy to increased employee productivity and positive brand perceptions.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Sustainable Landscaping
Employing the right landscaping company makes a big difference in ensuring that the lawn care your company is receiving is good for the environment.
The use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, along with gas-powered yard equipment and high water consumption for watering, can take a toll on the environment.
By employing a natural lawn care business, the environmental impact of their service can be reduced. The trust of customers who desire a natural, sustainable lawn care service will be secured.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Eco-Friendly Remodeling
What constitutes eco-friendly remodeling services? One of the greenest and most sustainable eco-friendly remodeling techniques is not to remodel at all. Large, extensive remodels generate a lot of waste and burn a lot of energy.
Instead of remodeling your business’s interior entirely, make small updates to critical areas without making significant changes.
If the business interior requires a fresh coat of paint, do not use paint that contains VOCs. VOCs are volatile organic compounds, such as acetone, benzene, and formaldehyde. They frequently have odors. Short-term exposure to them can lead to coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and many upper respiratory illnesses. If exposed long-term, the result can be liver damage or cancer.
While it is impossible to eliminate VOCs from our everyday life, minimize your exposure using low or no VOC paints. It is better for both you and the environment. This is one of the key points that distinguish a traditional remodel from a sustainable remodel.
Use an eco-friendly approach to your remodel, such as sustainable architecture. This term refers to buildings designed to limit the human impact on the environment and encompasses every aspect of the planning and construction process.
When installing commercial windows, there are many window frame options, including vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. Because aluminum is recyclable, it is a very eco-friendly window frame. Vinyl can also be either chemically or physically recycled.
Recycled construction materials are used through the construction industry frequently. They help to contain costs for contractors and customers both. For example, concrete is continuously recycled into aggregate to keep the concrete price lower.
Recycled construction materials can help to make a remodeling project more eco-friendly. For example, many flooring types are made from composite materials taken from waste wood that otherwise may have gone to a landfill.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Waste Elimination
Companies tend to account for waste and activity at every stage as part of their overhead – costs that get rolled into customers’ prices. There isn’t a customer alive who wants to pay for your organization’s waste and inability to control your costs.
An essential step in creating an eco-friendly business process is to eliminate wasteful activities that drain resources but provide no value to your customers.
In the area of office supplies alone, much waste occurs. In the United States, alone over four million disposable pens are disposed of every day. A business can make a “green” change by providing the office with reusable pens which need to have the ink refilled. Refilling the pens makes it easier to keep track of them rather than replacing them. They are less expensive in the long run.
Consider using a staff member or the office manager to oversee and keep track of the office supplies. Be sure to explain to the staff that this process isn’t to take the employees back to their “school days” but to “green” up the office.
Perhaps conduct a weekly review or audit of how much waste your business disposes of. In time, people will begin to understand the need to take ownership of their own environmental impact.
Eco-Friendly Business Practices – Recycling
It is vital to know what can be recycled among the waste your company has. Note that just a small amount of unrecyclable material can cause the entire portion of recycled material to become contaminated. It will then end up in a landfill.
But what are the environmental benefits that recycling provides? It helps conserve energy, reduces both water and air pollution, reduces the gases produced by greenhouses, and saves natural resources.
Extracting raw materials from the environment is costly. It also uses a lot of energy and water. When recycling is implemented, there is less extraction which conserves many precious and finite natural resources such as metals, oil, water, and most importantly, trees.
Not only does it save on the usage of natural resources, but it also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills, it prevents pollution, gives life to things that would otherwise be discarded, and provides jobs.
Here are some interesting statistics about the recycling of plastic.
For each ton of plastic recycled, we save:
- The energy used by two people in one year
- The amount of water used by one person over a two-month period
- 2,000 pounds of oil
- Enough plastic is wasted each year to shrink-wrap Texas
- Enough bottles made of plastic are disposed of in the country each year to circle the Earth four times.
Similar statistics exist for metal and paper, proving that recycling is necessary to sustain our resources.
Remember the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle. Conserving resources can save your business money over the long run. Adhering to these rules will help not only the environment but future generations.