How to Cut Expenses and Help the Earth
Several of our readers are business owners and although I appeal mainly to the householder, some of the advice for going green and saving money can be scaled up or down to make it applicable to whatever your situation.
As you’ll be aware by now, the most exciting aspect of eco friendly living for me is when I can combine that with frugality; turning the whole ‘green living is really expensive’ argument on its head.
Turn it off?
At home it makes sense to turn computers off when not in use but it can be different in an office. Although saving energy is important, you should leave the computers on if they are on a network, being backed up, or running a program that has not completed. Although computers may be required to remain on, you can shut down peripheral equipment when not in use.
Save on banking
Businesses that use online banking and online credit card transactions can save money and resources in postage and paper and some banks offer discounts for not sending out paper statements. Taking a look at some business credit card comparison can be profitable because you can earn cash back with your purchases.
Email – print or download?
Reading email online and printing only necessary copies saves paper and energy. Computers have massive hard drives now, so most important documents can be stored safely without the need for paper.
When you DO need to print; use both sides of the page when possible. Use the printer’s draft mode for internal documents and use recycled paper as often as possible. When faxing; send without a cover sheet if appropriate and turn off the fax modem when it isn’t in use.
Use energy saving light bulbs, preferably LEDs around your office. In corridors and toilet cubicles it can be useful to use PIRs which detect body movement or heat and then turn lights off when you have passed through the area; this is a fantastic way to stop lights being left on unnecessarily.
Purchase eco friendly products locally. Your purchases will help the local economy and use less energy in delivering the products. Search for suppliers who reuse or reduce packaging too. It’s easy to swap polystyrene moulding for recycled cardboard and to stuff spaces in boxes with shredded paper instead of plastic air bags for example.
I remember seeing skips full of old furniture in some of the offices I’ve worked in. That was long before I took an interest in preserving the environment and our resources, but even then I used to think what a waste it was. Contact your local furniture recycling company and send your unwanted desks and chairs to a good home. You’ll save money on landfill fees!
What about you – how do you save money and resources at work?
I avoid printing unless it is necessary. However, when I do print, in addition to printing double-sided, I print 2 pages on each side of the sheet of paper when possible – although I appreciate that some people might find this too small to read comfortably. At home, apart from letters, when I need to print, I use paper that has already been used on one side, although this is not feasible where lots of people share a printer at work. A low-budget alternative to PIRs is a prominent sign near the door reminding people to turn the lights off when they leave the room.
We use energy saving light bulbs, we use recycled paper for our labels, we reuse packing material that is sent to us when we ship our packages out, and we try to buy as much as we can for our business locally.
We definitely reuse packaging, that could include letters, boxes, Christmas wrapping. I try not to turn the lights on and off so much though, and that usually takes up even more energy than keeping them on.