Your Business, Our Earth

Your Business, Our Earth

With the passing of Earth Day on April 22nd, I encourage all business owners, large and small, to take a step back and think about the impact that day-to-day operations have on our planet. In the grand scheme of things it’s rather insignificant, but take that and compound it with every business spanning our nation and you’re looking at something much more tangible. Looking at this holistic picture in reverse tells me that if we all lessen our impact, even just a little, we can substantially influence things in a positive way.

To do your part, there are a number of steps you can take and as an incentive, many of them can also have a financial benefit in the long run. The possibilities are virtually limitless, but to get started on the right track, here are a few things you can do.

Reduce Waste

One of the simplest measures you can take is to peek into the trash can and see what you are regularly tossing out. I think you might be surprised to see how much can be saved over time by just using what is needed and adjusting your purchasing habits accordingly.

Alternative Materials

The old adage of “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could not hold more true. Think about what you use for materials and determine if that can be replaced with a byproduct from something else. This can be as simple as using waste paper as notepads or as complex as using byproducts from coal-fired boilers as sandblasting media. Don’t stop there though, also look at it from a different perspective. Could the things you throw away be useful to someone else? Prime examples that are easy to find a home, other than the trash can, are pallets and packing peanuts.

Encourage a Green Culture

Lead by example and make it a point of importance to consider the environmental impacts of your day-to-day operations. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the determining factor in every decision you make, but it should be considered. Encourage all of your employees and coworkers to do the same. Make sure there are options available for your employees to make those decisions for themselves too; if there is no recycling receptacle, they probably won’t do it.

Again, just imagine the impact if every single business in the United States did just one of these. Little by little we could alleviate the stresses we place on our environment. These suggestions are things that can be implemented all throughout the year at any point in time, but if you start now, think about what you can achieve before Earth Day 2014.

Guest blog article is provided by Joe Bolick, Marketing, Communications & Grants, UNI Business & Community Services and Iowa Waste Reduction Center.

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