More and more businesses are turning to safer, more “green” options when it comes to choosing a cleaning product. That’s because now, more than ever, it’s not only safer for employees and building occupants, but can save money too. There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest advantages is for marketing purposes—to advertise as a "green cleaning service." However, consumers are becoming savvier all the time. They want products and services that are genuinely green. That means they expect a company to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Almost every business could be greener, and often it takes time to establish new routines or make different choices. To help start you out—or maybe give you a few new ideas to add to your existing methods—here are five ways your business can be more green. The best part? Instead of costing more, they could actually save you some money!
- Recycle & Reuse
Recycling is pretty low-hanging fruit when it comes to making a company greener. Recycling everything you can is a great first step. But you can go beyond that with your buying choices, too. When it comes time to buy new office furniture, consider going to resale shops, Facebook Ads, Craigslist, or eBay to pick out fun older pieces rather than buying new furniture. Consider donating your older furniture or equipment, if still in good usable condition, to your community or employees. Another idea is to reuse any boxes and protective wrapping that are shipped to you. Get creative! One important note, however: don’t reuse containers from cleaning products for other cleaning products or purposes. Once their usefulness is done, it’s best to recycle them.
Cost Savings: Reusing items means you don't have to buy new as often, and you can get a better price on gently used second-hand items. Also, ask your tax professional about federal and state incentives for recycling.
- Examine How Employees Get To Work
Look at how you and other employees get to work or to job sites every day. Are there opportunities to use public transportation, hybrid vehicles, or bikes? What about carpooling? All of these ideas can be encouraged or incentivized. Some public transportations systems offer group-rate passes for businesses.
Cost Savings: Gas money is the chief savings, first and foremost. But employers can also offer a tax-free benefit for commuting via public transportation as well. The tax laws can change from year to year, so as always consult your tax professional. But you can read more about this credit here.
- Get An Energy Audit
Check your area for local energy auditors. This can often be found on the website of your local utility service. Some providers might also offer incentives that help cover the cost of the audit. Even after the audit, utility companies may have incentives to help you with the costs involved in making your business more energy efficient. Most of these services will either offer an assessment, which is a visual review of the property, or a full audit. The audit takes 3-4 hours and is much more comprehensive. It covers your HVAC system, air seals, insulation, appliances, lighting, and water heating.1
Cost Savings: Even if there are some up-front costs involved, improving the energy efficiency of your building can save you a great deal of expense that you're paying month to month on utilities.
- Use CFL or LED lights
This one is pretty easy, as traditional incandescent light bulbs above 40 watts were discontinued in 2014. So chances are you’re using either compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs or LED bulbs already. CFL bulbs are typically curled, and LED bulbs are longer than the traditional kind with a metal center topped by a dome. Both are more energy efficient than standard bulbs, but LED lasts longer and provides more savings for your power bill.2 LED bulbs, however, are more expensive. Another option is "smart" bulbs which can be connected and controlled via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These are nice options for controlling lights remotely for security or energy efficiency reasons, but they are also costly. In any case, make sure to reduce waste by only replacing bulbs as they burn out. This will also help you spread out the initial costs involved in buying the bulbs.
Cost Savings: Like energy audits and changes, the savings here will mostly be month to month in the power bill, but this can really add up year after year of use. CFL bulbs are rated to last 6-10 years, and LED bulbs are rated for 15-25 years versus the 1-year life of a traditional bulb.2
- Switch to Post-Consumer Products
The truth is, recycling isn’t of much use unless we close the loop and use products created from recycled materials. There are two different types of recycled products, labeled as "pre-consumer" and "post-consumer." Pre-consumer recycled goods have never made it to the public. They're made by the manufacturer from scrap materials. Post-consumer recycled products have actually been used and then recovered. Either kind is actually better than using products that aren’t made from recycled material. But, post-consumer is usually considered more environmentally friendly because it encourages the use of material that would have just ended up in a landfill.
Cost Savings: So, this one is a bit trickier. The truth is, using recycled products can cost more. That's because of the cost involved in the recycling process. However, this is another excellent place to check your state tax laws. Some states do offer tax incentives for using post-consumer recycled materials. Whether these credits offset the additional upfront cost or save you money will vary a great deal from state to state because of this.
If you’re looking for green-certified products, EnvirOx has a solution for you. Contact one of our specialists for more information about what products might be right for you.