Canadian Manufacturing

10 steps to making your small business greener

Earth day is around the corner and these ideas will help put your small business on cleaner, greener footing



TORONTO—Earth day is April 22 and Canadian office solutions provider Grand & Toy has sent us 10 simple steps Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses can implement to reduce their environmental footprint. Pretty good stuff here:

If it’s not essential for your business to operate from a traditional “office,” get rid of it.
Working remotely, from your home, from your client’s office or from an unassigned workstation in a local business centre reduces not only the number of cars on the road and greenhouse gas emissions, but also office overhead and gasoline expenses.

Take advantage of natural light during daytime work hours.
This saves you money by reducing your energy expenses while cutting your energy consumption along the way. When you do need artificial light, use fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs—they last longer, use less energy and cost less in the long term.

Choose sustainable interiors.
Ensure the furniture you buy is certified by at least one of the credible environmental certification programs: Design for Environment (DFE), ISO 14001, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), GREENGUARD or EcoLogo or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Choose earth-friendly materials—furniture partially made from soy-based foam consumes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing than petroleum-based furniture.

Consolidate your ordering practices to once a month.
Order consolidation helps reduce the number of trucks on the road and the greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution associated with transportation. Less packaging required to ship product also means less waste. In addition, consolidation leads to fewer invoices to be reconciled and easier payments, freeing up more time to focus on your business.

Request electronic catalogues and electronic invoicing from your suppliers.
Holding your suppliers environmentally accountable will decrease the amount of paper they use and encourage them to think about their own environmental practices. Similarly, arrange for electronic payment of all your purchases through a credit or debit card, PayPal or other electronic system.

Use sustainable cleaning products.
Quality microfiber cloths, for example, not only pick up dust, surface residues, microscopic particles, grease and oil, but can also significantly reduce and, in some cases, completely eliminate the cleaning chemicals required for certain jobs.

Equip your office washroom with touch-less towel dispensers or air dryers.
This will help you further reduce your business’ paper consumption and control water use, an expense that is bound to increase.

Implement a full-scale recycling and compost program.
Composting leftover food and recycling paper, cardboard, glass and aluminum cans you’ll make sure your office waste is diverted from landfills and used to produce new products, such as white printer paper, paper towels, aluminum cans and glass bottles.

Recycle your used ink and toner cartridges, too.
Instead of throwing them away, send them to the companies collecting empty ink and toner cartridges for recycling. This will help conserve energy and virgin materials. Depending on the program, you can get money back for every returned cartridge.

Print double-sided and use environmentally certified paper.
Switching to a 50 per cent post-consumer recycled content paper will save 120 trees for every 10 skids of paper, according to the Environmental Defense Organization, and the energy saved is enough to power a house for a year. In addition, double-sided printing, on average, leads to a 30 per cent reduction of paper.

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