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3 Easy Ways to Make Your Business Greener—and Boost Your Bottom Line

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eco friendly

When it comes to being green at home, you’re a pro. You diligently recycle. You bring your reusable bags to the grocery store. Maybe you’ve even gone solar. But what about your business?

More than ever, consumers are paying attention to corporate sustainability. The research backs this up. Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers have a more positive image of a company that advocates for social or environmental issues. Around the same number say they’d be more likely to trust such a company. And consumers these days expect companies to care about the environment.

So, what can you do to cut your carbon footprint and paint your business in a positive light?

Plenty. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, adopting eco-friendlier practices might even generate some revenue for your business.

You can do three things right now to make your business greener.

1: Use a Clean Green certified laundry service.

If you routinely launder linens, mats, uniforms, and other reusable textiles as part of your business operations; use an industrial laundry provider that is Clean Green Certified to reduce your environmental footprint.

Clean Green certified operations must meet certain standards for conserving water and energy and minimizing chemical use. This includes things like:

  • Recovering heat from drained hot water
  • Using environmentally friendly detergents
  • Recapturing and reusing drain water from rinses
  • Removing liquids and solids from wastewater

Many Clean Green certified businesses also use solar energy and energy-efficient lighting to power their operations.

The environmental benefits of using a Clean Green Certified industrial laundry provider are nothing to scoff at. The Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA) compared the life cycle of reusable versus disposable textiles. They found that:

  • Reusable isolation gowns and napkins have up to 70% to 90% less global warming potential than disposable ones.
  • Using a highly efficient process to launder napkins can cut consumption of natural gas (per napkin) by 53%; electricity by 56%; and water by 65%.

By using a Clean Green laundry service, your business in turn becomes greener.

2: Reduce, reuse, recycle (in that order).

As much as we’d like to believe everything we toss into the recycling bin is repurposed into something new, the reality is that most recyclable materials end up in landfills or get shipped overseas despite our best intentions.

For years the U.S. has relied on China and other developing nations to take on the mountains of recycling we produce. Recently, though, these countries have started rejecting our refuse, which has led some U.S. cities to cancel their recycling programs altogether.

Whether you operate a restaurant or an office complex, it’s worth figuring out where you can reduce consumption—mainly plastics and hazardous materials.

Reusing is the next best option. You can make a real difference by reducing your business’s waste. Here are a few tips.

Waste Reduction Tips

Purchase computers can be upgraded (i.e., reused) rather than buying “throwaway” machines. Electronics and computers are vast sources of global waste, and many contain hazardous materials.

Sell or donate old electronics, and maintain the ones you have. When upgrading or redecorating your business space, consider buying lightly used furniture and accessories instead of new items.

Recycling, the last option, can be much more than just tossing aluminum cans and plastics into a dedicated bin (but this is a good start).

Instead of throwing away spent printer cartridges, for example, bring them to a participating retailer to get refilled. More than half of all printer cartridges U.S. consumers buy each year end up in landfills. Buying refurbished cartridges or getting units refilled can help divert some of this waste.

Consider investing in an industrial baler or compactor if your business generates a sizeable amount of plastic or cardboard waste. Recyclers are much more likely to buy bales than loose materials. And, bales take up less space and are easier to store and haul away.

There are lots of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. It just requires some thoughtful planning.

3: Stock the staff breakroom with reusable kitchenware.

This is an easy one. You can swap out paper dishes with ceramic ones and plastic cutlery with the real stuff in a single afternoon. Throw in some kitchen towels and a set of glasses and coffee mugs; voila, your kitchen has gone green.

For most businesses, the big challenge is keeping the kitchen clean. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s not an insurmountable issue. Here are some options:

  • Hire a designated person to keep the kitchen clean.
  • Create a rotating kitchen duty schedule among employees.
  • Make kitchen duty a part of someone’s job (disclose this to the person during the hiring process; don’t add it to their job description after the fact).

Consider installing a dishwasher if your breakroom doesn’t have one. Late-model Energy Star certified dishwashers use as little as 3 gallons of water per load, and less than half the energy of washing dishes by hand. Making the switch to reusables will keep paper and plastics out of our landfills—and plastics can take up to 1,000 years to completely break down.

And reusable kitchenware will likely save your business money in the long haul. With a dishwasher, your water and energy costs for dishwashing may actually go down, and so will your expenditures on office supplies. One study found that companies spend $1,844 per employee annually on “office products,” which likely includes disposable food and beverage supplies.

Even if your business’s actions make it greener, don’t generate obvious revenue, or dramatically cut costs, it’s worth remembering that image is everything today. Consumers care about the environment. Therefore, improving your business look is almost guaranteed to pay off in the long run.

Author Bio

Jerry Martin is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Prudential Overall Supply. Prudential is the world’s first major industrial laundry chain to earn TRSA Clean Green Certification. This means the company has met rigorous requirements for achieving water and energy conservation efficiencies and adopting best management practices for reusing, reclaiming, and recycling resources. Customers who rely on Prudential for their uniforms, floor mats, towels, mops, and other reusable textiles can feel good about knowing these items are laundered in a way that protects the environment.