Turning Green into Green

It is often reported that the public perceives going green as an expensive undertaking. I would like to argue that actions toward environmental sustainability save money. And to do that, here are five green practices for businesses that will help the bottom line.

1. Encouraging less waste. When we reduce the garbage we create, we save money. This happens in a few ways. We have to purchase less – fewer paper coffee cups and plates, less paper, fewer ink cartridges. One way this practice saves money, that is often overlooked, is that it reduces tipping fees. Tipping fees are what you pay for garbage collection. If your company pays for a garbage bin, you are paying a tipping fee for the garbage to be picked up. Stretching out the time between tips save you big time. This is often a quick win for a business looking to go green.

2. Going paperless. Not only will you save on paper and ink, your customers will love you. I always take the email receipt option over the printed one. It is much easier to search my email for a receipt than to look through bags and cars to find that missing receipt. Paperless also works for office manuals and invoices. Switching from paper to email invoices saves on paper, ink, and stamps (that’s 85 cents a letter, multiply that by your monthly invoices, it results in huge savings). Do not be surprised if your postage expense is cut in half by this switch. And, the instant delivery versus days or weeks to deliver means you will be paid quicker. 

3. Installing Eco-friendly lighting. Efficient lighting can add up to big savings on your energy bills over the year. The second advantage is they last longer saving you on replacement costs. While it may seem the extra expense to purchase is hard to swallow, the long-run savings will quickly outweigh the purchase price. Energy efficient lighting has come a long way and you can select a variety of designs that fit your business’ décor.

4. Buying second-hand. As businesses expand, downsize or evolve, furniture comes up for sale. When Target in Cranbrook closed, there was a large sale on a variety of furniture, racking, and display features. While not all second-hand options are as big as that, watching online buy and sell sites can lead to great deals to meet your needs. Not only do you save money on the price – it saves the environment as raw resources are not required to make new ones.

5. Looking for local rebates on energy saving programs. From BC Hydro to Columbia Basin Trust to BC Government. Investing in energy efficiency costs may be offset by a grant, subsidy, or tax rebate. BC Hydro has a number of programs and incentives available to business (bchydro.com/powersmart/business/programs.html). It is worth the time to browse BC Hydro’s website for programs applicable to your business.

There are many ways to go green. Take some time to review your operations. Are there ways you can reduce waste, do you have upgrades that qualify for rebates, can you adopt paperless practices? Going green has many advantages for businesses. From saving money to resonating with environmentally conscientious consumers, going green will benefit your business.