10 Green Business Ideas for Startups
8th May 2019
As the rising concern for our planet continues, many businesses are facing a choice when it comes to cutting down on environmental waste and being eco-conscious. Around eight million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year which is the greatest threat towards the potentially irreversible damage of climate change.
To be an eco-friendly business, you will need to make rational decisions about waste, energy and water which will have a high impact, not just on the environment, but also on customer perception. Your customers will have greater trust in you, especially when the whole world is working towards a greener future. It can also mean greater savings for your business long-term.
From office paper recycling, to sustainable use packaging and smart building technologies, there are no limits to how you can create an eco-friendly business. We have compiled some examples for you of ways you can make your green mark on society.
1. Use Sustainable Packaging
Consider reducing the amount of waste you generate and the energy or water supply you use in the working environment. Here are a list of key materials you must avoid:
- Plastics made from polyethylene
- Multi-layered packaging
- Fossil fuel energy
- Non-recyclable materials
Here is a list of materials you can use:
- Biodegradable plastics
- Plant-based plastics
- Recycled products
- Alternative energy sources
- Recycled molded packaging
2. Use Digital Recordkeeping
Cutting down on your paper use is essential for reducing your carbon footprint. Paper originally comes from trees which are an important part of our ecosystem and help absorb any toxic carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The more trees that are being cut down and used for commercial use, the more damage we are causing to our planet.
Rather than printing unnecessarily, use online contact forms, newspapers and compile online documents instead. When you do need to use the printer on the odd occasion, use recycled paper rather than shrink-wrapped paper and print double-sided rather than single-sided. This will contribute to you saving waste and plastic from being thrown in landfill and being put to good use.
3. Cut Down on Water Use
A dripping tap can cost you up to 10000 litres a year. Drinking water is precious and running it away wastefully reflects badly on your business. You can try installing waterless or low-flow toilets, as well as upgrading any of your equipment including dishwashers and kitchen taps, to low water consumption alternatives.
Smart Innovative Water Technology systems such as Billi Taps are energy efficient, can monitor daily usage patterns, and conserves power, to prevent any water waste.
4. Donate, Don’t Discard
Consider creative reuse of any furniture or unwanted office equipment before sending them to landfill. Many items, or component parts can easily be recycled for repurpose. Ask around to see if any local businesses are in need of the equipment you possess and donate it to them.
5. Use Renewable Energy Resources
Make a giant leap by becoming a eco-friendly business and invest in renewable energy. Adding solar panels to heat water or generate electricity in your working facilities can have a huge impact on the growth of your business.
Many businesses are switching their energy providers and dumping fossil fuel energy, to make room for renewable alternatives, that are powered naturally. You could even consider wind, fuel or geothermal energy including the use of battery powered cars.
Offer your employees an incentive to car share, or walk into work rather than driving or using public transport where they can during their daily commute. Avoiding one daily commute per week, by encouraging your employees to work from home is also a great way of having a impact on reducing your carbon emission footprint for the year.
6. Green Procurement
One of the best ways to make your business more environmentally friendly is to practice green procurement. This involves sourcing goods and services that are produced and supplied in a sustainable fashion. Sourcing from local suppliers is a good way to start.
You can review your procurement policies and make sure all the goods you purchase are:
- Manufactured in a sustainable fashion
- Do not contain toxic materials or ozone-depleting substances
- Can be recycled and/or produced from recycled materials
- Are made from renewable materials such as bamboo
- Do not make use of excessive packaging
- Are designed to be repairable and not “throwaway”
Create your own procurement policy that commits to your company’s ideals of having a greener carbon footprint, reducing waste and conserving energy and water in the workplace.
7. Plant Shrubs and Trees
Trees and shrubs are a vital part of the ecosystem and act as filters for pollution, by absorbing toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere. They can also make your working environment look more aesthetically pleasing and encourage better employee welfare and wellbeing.
These plants will produce oxygen which will improve the air quality essential for you and your employees in the workplace. They are also beneficial for the summer months, to help protect your office from powerful sunlight and providing shaded areas for your employees to have some relaxation time.
8. Recycle Electronics
You can easily replace component parts from computers and other electronic equipment that can be recycled over and over again. You could consider donating them to charity, local schools or other local businesses.
Many of these devices, including phones, fax machines and printers contain heavy metals like mercury and lead that can be destructive for the environment when taken to landfill.
9. Power Down
Turn off any equipment when it is not being used especially out of working hours. Leaving your computers on standby can waste energy. By turning your computers off you will be reducing energy used by up to 50 per cent.
Lighting can also account for up to 40 per cent of an office’s energy consumption. Try to encourage more natural light in your open office spaces, rather than artificial light. Or install motion-sensitive switches so you can conserve energy and save money for your next energy bill.
10. Get Involved
To become an eco-friendly business, you must be committed to the cause and live by the values you implement. Apart from setting up an eco-friendly workplace you must also encourage participation in green events. Devote at least one working day every month to helping green causes, supporting local charities and getting involved in community clean up days. Going green is an effective way to boost your team’s morale, save you money and have an important impact on the natural environment.