As a business owner, you're always looking for ways to appeal to your client base. You may think that consumers only care about cost, but 87% of customers report that they are concerned about the environmental effects of the goods and services they choose. One of the of the way you can integrate a green initiative is by cutting back on how much waste your company produces when manufacturing goods or marketing services. Here are some simple ways to show your customers that you are setting the example of a smaller ecological footprint.
1. Buy Recycled Products
While going paperless is the obvious route for reducing paper waste, no business can go completely without some types of paper. You may have paper cups at the water dispenser, toilet paper in the bathrooms, and reams of paper in the photocopiers. There is no reason why your business cannot get behind one of the simplest methods of waster reduction: buying recycled paper for office and employee use.
But, recycled paper is not the only way you can reduce waste. Encourage employees to put old papers in the recycling bin. If you shred documents, don't put them in the trash, but send them to the recycling service as well.
2. Reuse Everything That Can Be Reused
Do you ever get a new part or computer that is packaged in plastic, cardboard, and styrofoam? These fill up the landfills, and are often not biodegradable. If you receive packaging from suppliers, save things like boxes and packing peanuts to use for your own shipping needs. You could even explain to your customers that your packing is unconventional because you only package using recycled or reused packing materials. That is a movement that they could both understand and get behind.
Encourage reuse among your employees as well. Provide plastic cups for coffee and water. Reuse file folders and manila envelopes that are used for interdepartmental memos. You might even consider installing a dishwasher in your kitchen or staffroom to cut back on the use of disposable dinnerware during lunch, concession, or cafeteria breaks. Also, remove paper towels from restrooms in favor of air driers or cloth rolls.
Also, the whole tone of the office could reflect this attitude of throwing few things away. For example, choosing printers that come with refillable cartridges keeps the cartridge packaging out of the trash. These types of simple business choices reflect a sensitivity to the go-green initiative.
3. Don't Send Out Unnecessary Mail
Mailing postcards, letters, catalogues and promotions is one of the easiest ways to reach your client base. However, when you're spending money to print out fliers and brochures, be sure that your review the mailing list and response before each new promotion. People who move may not send you a change of address.
If you have someone who has been on the mailing list for a few years, but has not ordered or responded, it's time to scratch them off the list. The less you print, the more you save. The less you print, the less paper ends up in the household trash.
4. Choose Sustainable Options
Cardboard and plastic wrap rule the world of packaging, but they are disposable materials. Even though they will cost more to manufacture, consider buying and using more durable containers for storing and shipping goods.
For instance, if you used a recycled plastic container with a reusable lid, you could have the customer send the box back after receiving the service. You could even offer mail-back incentives, like a dollar rebate off the next purchase and prepaid shipping for the box.
Even if customers don't take the bait, they will be much less likely to throw away a durable container-- they will use it for something else. In your own office, choose totes or metal storage systems instead of cardboard boxes.
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