10 Simple Easy Ways to Green Your Business

This weekend I finished Greening Your Small Business, a well written and easily readable new book by Jennifer Kaplan, dealing with a lot of background and a lot of specifics about the idea of “greening” the business. Happily, she starts out by defining what “greening” means, in several practical contexts. Then she deals with greening as green marketing, green travel, green purchasing, and a good understanding of the underlying business rationale.

One thing I particularly liked about the book was its list of 50 easy ways to make your business greener. To my mind, the simple and easy-to-implement tips are by far the most valuable. Here are my 10 favorites, taken from those 50 (all of this is direct quote):

  1. Make recycling easy by providing clearly marked bins throughout the workplace.
  2. Turn off lights (and other equipment) when not in use (i.e. at night).
  3. Turn off computers and monitors every night. Just shut them down.
  4. Make use of scanners and PDF formatting to digitize hard copy data for future use and distribution.
  5. If your copier permits it, set the default to double sided.
  6. Add this message to your email signature: by not printing this email, you’ve helped save paper, ink, and trees.
  7. Fax electronically–send and receive faxes directly from your computer(s); if you fax the old-fashioned way, eliminate cover sheets by sticking a post-it fax cover note on the first page.
  8. Whenever possible, eliminate direct mail from your media mix.
  9. Create electronic versions of materials such as media kits, reports, and other documents, and then post them to your website.
  10. Eliminate disposable items in the workplace.

I’m afraid I can’t say that I do everything on this list. But I am trying as much as I can.

[disclosure: Jennifer sent me a review copy of her book.]


  • Small Business Trends’ Best Books 2009 says:

    […] Greening Your Small Business–Learn how making your business green isn’t just trendy, but cost-effective. Jennifer Kaplan explores how and why to weave green practices into your business. Read my review. […]

  • David says:

    No 6, really annoys me when people have it on their email. It’s like they used to print all their emails and recently stopped or something. Also do you hear of people printing emails they don’t actually need a copy of? I guess I am saying that it is a cure for a problem that doesn’t really exist.

  • Jennifer Rai says:

    Something such as turning off a light when you walk out of a room is so simple, yet I rarely see people doing this. Thank you for a great article!

  • CathyWebSavvyPR says:

    Good Morning Tim,

    Great post, Jen has some great ideas.

    As you have been a guest on Melinda Emerson’s Twitter Talk Show #SmallBizChat, I hope you don’t mind me letting your readers know that Jen Kaplan (@Greenhance on Twitter) will be our guest Wed. 11/18/09 8-9pET, topic: Greening your business to save money.

    For those familiar with Twitter – they can follow http://www.Twitter.com/SmallBizChat for details, or send me a tweet (I put my Twitter username above).

    Feel free to delete this after the event! (or before, if this is too promotional!)

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