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An increasing number of business owners are looking to find out what they can do to improve the green credentials of their businesses. Whether you are starting a new business or want to carry out a ‘green overhaul’ of your existing company, there are plenty of ways you can achieve it.

Save Energy
Many people have one rule for the home and another for the office; but the same rules can still apply. Make sure lights are turned off when you leave at the end of the day, or in areas of your premises that you don’t use very often. Don’t leave monitors on standby or computers in hibernate mode as this uses hours of energy for no reason. And remember – the less energy you use, the lower your electricity bills will be!

Saving energy also applies to reducing the amount of water you use. Make sure you get leaky taps fixed and install plumbing that is water-efficient. If you have existing plumbing, try using tools such as toilet dams to reduce the amount of water used in each flush.

Create a Paperless Environment
Try to communicate via email and telephone for most of your interactions with colleagues and clients; this includes sending out newsletters, flyers or money-off coupons that many people are now used to receiving in their email inbox. Don’t print emails or documents unless absolutely necessary, and if you have to then produce double sided pages to cut down on  the amount of paper you use each time.

Source Ethical Materials
This applies to you no matter what your business does; whether you’re a builder or a fashion designer, only use materials that are fair-trade and from sustainable resources.  Try to use local suppliers as much as possible to support other small businesses and to reduce the distance your materials need to be transported, thereby lowering their carbon footprint.

Even the smallest changes make a difference – use fair-trade coffee in your break area and switch to recycled paper for your stationary. Using paper bags instead of plastic ones will also have a big impact.

As basic as it sounds, many businesses simply don’t bother to make sure they are recycling the majority of their waste in the same way we would do at home. Try to think of it like your home but on a bigger scale; packing boxes, waste paper, plastic cartons, tins, glass and a wide array of other materials can all be sorted for recycling, and most local councils will collect this all for you.

Giving your business a green overhaul doesn’t need to cost you money and will probably save you money in the long term. It’s amazing what switching to paper bags and turning out the lights can do!