6 Ways Startups Can Go Green
Environmental consciousness has become immensely important during the past few decades. At first, the focus was put on industries traditionally known as the most polluting, such as industrial mining, chemical manufacturing, or product manufacturing. However, in time, it was clear that even some seemingly “clean” industries were responsible for numerous other environmental issues, such as climate change and resource depletion. Being environmentally friendly is a big thing, not only when it comes to startups, but an increasing number of big companies have started insisting on it as well. Besides being the right thing to do, going green can help you cut costs, stand out from the crowd, and show your company in a positive light.
The air that you breathe
Research has shown that green offices are not only great when it comes to energy saving, but they also make employees more productive. Namely, people who work in sustainable offices have better cognitive function and they take fewer sick days. The reason for this lies in the fact that well-ventilated offices have lower levels of carbon dioxide, meaning the air isn’t stuffy as there’s more fresh air responsible for higher oxygen levels. Another study has linked better breathing air to better decision-making, so it’s essential to make sure your office is well-ventilated at all times.
Many companies have all the lights on in their offices, not only during work hours but during the night, too. According to Lights Off Cornell, an energy saving initiative founded by a group of students at Cornell University, more than $60,000 a year can be saved by turning off the lights in academic buildings when they’re not used. Another option to save electricity is to use natural lighting, which means that the windows in your office should be large, with the blinds open. The walls in your office should be painted in lighter colors in order to additionally boost the effect of natural lighting. All these seemingly insignificant details add up and result in significant energy saving.
First of all, if you want to reduce printing costs, print materials only when necessary. This means that you should send meeting agendas, manuals, or e-books via email, or share them online. Of course, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid printing, but in such cases, resort to green printing options, such as reusable printing paper, smaller fonts, eliminating empty pages, and double-sided printing. A couple of years ago, a teenager from Pittsburgh claimed that the U.S. government could save $370 million a year, simply by switching to Garamond. However, although it’s not as simple as that, you can save money by opting for a solid color logo that requires less ink, or even uses an outlined version of the design.
Air pollution has been suffocating people in big cities for a long time, and this is not just metaphorically speaking. A research study has established that vehicle emissions, which are among the main culprits behind air pollution, lead to 53,000 premature deaths a year in the U.S. That’s why promoting carpooling or coming to work by bike is a great idea, not only because you’ll help our planet, but because you’ll be able to reduce your costs. Many companies allow telecommuting options and flexible working schedules to help their employees be more productive. Working from home is more comfortable and people don’t have to waste a couple of hours a day on public transportation.
Although furniture made from wood looks great and natural, it’s important to remember that in order to make a wooden table or a cupboard, trees need to be cut down. Deforestation is a big problem, and if we bear in mind that 7 million hectares of forest are destroyed each year globally, it’s clear that turning to other materials is a must. Bamboo, aluminum, or HDPE lumber are much more eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. Apart from having significantly lower maintenance costs, these materials are more affordable, and no trees are harmed in the manufacturing of such furniture.
Don’t forget to recycle
Raising awareness about recycling is important, which is why you should encourage your employees to do it all the time. It’s much easier to provide recycling depots to dispose of plastic, glass, paper, and other recyclable materials. People usually forget that batteries, including the rechargeable ones, contain extremely toxic chemicals and that they shouldn’t be put together with regular trash. You can introduce a depot, especially for batteries and electronic waste in your office, and dispose of it in an environmentally safe manner.
By going green, startups can both contribute to solving environmental issues, and stand out among their competitors.