A few simple changes can make a huge impact on our environment, especially if everyone is doing his part. The new year is a great time to begin making the change to greener living, whether for you or your business. You do not have to spend a fortune either. In fact, some environmental-friendly practices can actually save you money. The following is a list of money-saving or cheap ideas for making a positive impact on our environment this year.
Look for Areas of Waste
Waste can mean materials that you are using unnecessarily. Talk to your employees about ways they can reduce the use of paper, ink, electricity, water, and so forth. Look around your house to see what electronics can be unplugged at night or when you are out of the house. This is a step towards a greener business or home that will save you money immediately without any up-front costs.
Work with Green Partners and Subcontractors
You can multiply your effectiveness when you support other business that are trying to make smart green choices. Printing is one very critical area in which a company can make changes. Find a printing company that is committed to sustainable forestry programs and that uses vegetable-based inks.
Within each industry, businesses can find green partners with which to do business. If your company is in the food industry, buy organic supplies. For carpenters, purchase certified lumber products. For more ideas, simply complete a search online for green products that you need.
Choose Digital Over Printed When Possible
You can eliminate a great deal of your mail by switching to digital forms. A great deal of your mail can be eliminated or switched to digital. For instance, receive and pay bills online. View most of your catalogs, magazines, or even your newspaper online.
Your business can avoid excessive postcard or brochure printing by using email marketing instead. Receive payments online and display your catalog on your website. If most of your forms can be done digitally, this will save you both time and money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Choose Efficient Appliances
When you are buying appliances, look for the energy efficient ones. In some cases, this will cost you more as an initial investment, but you will end up getting that money back as you use less water and electricity because of their efficiency. Remember to maintain your appliances so that they are always running at top efficiency. Keep in mind also that using warm water as opposed to hot water or cold water as opposed to warm water saves energy. Line dry clothes as often as possible and turn your heater down or air conditioning up.
Buy Green Products for Home and Offices
Choose reusable rags instead of napkins or paper towels whenever possible. Bring reusable shopping bags from home instead of choosing paper or plastic. And drink water from the tap to reduce the use of plastic bottles. CLF light bulbs may cost more upfront, but you will see the difference within the first year that you use them. Large offices can save thousands of dollars from their lighting bill by simply using CLF’s.
Use Less Gas
Reduce your use of gas whenever possible. Carpool and do business online or by phone. Or choose locations for meetings within walking distance for both you and your associates. When you are ready to buy a new car, choose an electric or hybrid automobile.
Keep in mind that it can be overwhelming to make lots of changes at one time, so sit down and write out a plan that can be implemented over this next year. Make it your goal to complete your list of changes by year 2012, so that this time next year, you can create a new list with a new set of green goals. Eventually, you will be able to say that you truly are doing all that you can to help save our planet.