There was a time when the word “eco-friendly” was synonymous with hippies and tree-huggers. Today, green is mainstream. People tote groceries home in canvas bags, hybrid cars cruise alongside gas-powered vehicles, and recycling is at an all-time high. Even the Oscars were earth-friendly this year.
Everyone wants to be green. More than just ethically the right thing to do, becoming eco-friendly can be good for your health and your business.
Light the Way
One of the easiest ways to be green is changing your light bulbs. The groovy-looking, spiral compact fluorescent light bulb, or CFL, is a type of fluorescent lamp that can replace an incandescent lamp and fit a multitude of light fixtures. The CFL gives off the same amount of light compared to regular light bulbs, but uses less power, has a longer life and saves greenhouse gases—an estimated 2,000 times its own weight. While CFLs cost more than your typical 100-watt bulb, the money you’ll save on your energy bill and in replacement costs more than makes up for it.
The Paper Trail
While you may not ever reach “paperless” status, there are a number of ways to cut back. First, make it a habit to print on both sides of the paper—that means double-sided contracts. There are also fax machines that do double-sided duty. Avoid color printing whenever possible, and purchase chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. You may also consider switching to paper made from lighter stock such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton or kenaf.
Also, take a look at where you can omit paper usage, such as posting employee info online or via e-mail. Collect e-mail addresses from your tenants so you can contact them via the computer rather than by mail. Review documents onscreen instead of printing them out.
Have a bin specially marked for recycled paper, even shredded sheets. This includes magazines, catalogs, newspaper and junk mail. Plus, recycling your toner and ink cartridges keeps metal, plastic and oil out of landfills.
If you’re looking to remodel your facility or add on, consider using sustainable products. There are green products for nearly every inch of a building—low-VOC paint, low-flow toilets, CFL lighting, earth-friendly flooring and more. Reuse materials whenever possible; recycle what you can’t. If you need to replace furniture or computers, look for ones that use sustainable materials.