Simple Cost Effective Changes to Decrease Your Companies Carbon Footprint
By Susan M. Leichter
Recycling is an important way for individuals and businesses to reduce the waste they generate and reduce the negative impact of that waste. Recycling saves energy and it is important that small businesses create and manage a program of recycling. Did you know that recycling is also a big business? It is, so it also supports many companies and employees that do this important work.
Recycling creates jobs, conserves natural resources, saves landfill space, conserves energy, reduces water pollution, air pollution and the green house gas emissions that cause global warming. Here are some simple ways your company can reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- One-sided non-confidential documents: Instead of throwing away documents that are printed on one side; flip them over and print on the reverse side. Our company has re-use boxes for paper beside every printer. If you accidentally print more than one copy, print test documents, or just have non-confidential documents printed on one side that you don’t need; place them in the re-use box and use them to load the printers.
- Confidential documents: Shred all confidential documents and use the shredded paper for packing material, compost, pet bedding, or as a kindling for starting fires.
- Old electronics: Donate outdated computers, printers and monitors to local not-for-profit organizations such as schools, churches and clubs. Be sure to erase all hard drives on computers prior to donation. Many of these organizations will give you a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
- Aluminum cans: Keep a separate trash can in the company lunch area for aluminum cans. Bring the cans to a local recycling company and sell them. Use the funds for company sponsored events or to purchase occasional drinks such as coffee or pop for the office.
- Magazines: Donate old magazines and product catalogs to local churches and schools for craft and art projects.
- Paper Towels Dispensers: Replace old paper towel holders and dispensers with electronic paper towel dispensers. Use recycled paper towel rolls from your local wholesale club in order to save both money and valuable landfill space. You can set the electronic dispenser to dispense a designated length of paper towels which decreases waste.
- Light Bulbs: Change out old bulbs with CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) bulbs. They last about 10 times as long and use up to 75% less energy to operate.
- Flags: Tattered and worn flags with embroidered stars can be sent to Gettysburg Flag Works “Stars for our Troops” program. The stars are cut out of the flag and mailed to an American soldier or veteran along with a note reminding them that like the tattered flag, they are useful and not forgotten. The remaining flag parts are then disposed of properly.
- Bottles of water: Instead of buying expensive bottles of water, purchase individual water bottles for employees and invest a water filter for your company sink. Encourage employees to refill their water bottles throughout the day.
- Trash bags: Encourage employees to bring in plastic bags from local retail and grocery stores to use as trash can liners for their individual trash cans.
- Old books: Donate business books to your local library. Even if they aren’t the most current material, many local libraries have annual fund raising sales where they sell good used books that have been donated to them. They use the funds earned for new books, DVD’s, and classes in the library.
- Packing peanuts and boxes: Reuse packing peanuts and shipping boxes from other companies to package your own company’s products. Include in the package a small note explaining that in order to reduce your companies carbon footprint you are reusing packing materials.
About the Author
Susan Leichter has a vast career that includes teaching physical fitness at the high school level, working as a registered nurse, bookkeeping, and human resource management. She is a principle at RA Tax and Accounting at Director of HR at Aptora Corporation.