seven things to change to have a greener small business in 2013

• Clean Out
Clean out what you don't use. If you have extra supplies you haven't used - offer them to another small business or donate (you may get a tax write off) them. You'll also have more space to spread out to get your work done. It's amazing what a cleared out space can inspire. An over cluttered work space can make your mind feel over cluttered as well.

• Join Forces
Network and find out what other small businesses are in your area. You may be able to join forces with everything from marketing and advertising to accounting. Perhaps barter services, share opportunities you've heard about or share names of local vendors you trust.

• Use Both Sides
Many printers are set up to do duplex printing but not many people know about it let alone have it set up. Check your owner's manual for instructions on how to set your device to print on both sides of the paper. By doing this you will save 50% of paper cost/usage. That's huge! (If you can't find your owner's manual, search online for instructions for your model.)

• Recycle Printer Cartridges
Several large chain office supply stores will accept your used cartridges for recycling and give you a coupon  for doing so. If your cartridge isn't accepted, try contacting the manufacturer to see if they have a recycling program. The large makers will even send you a mailing label to get it back to them.

• Lights Out
If you're lucky enough to have a window in your workspace, experiment with opening the blinds to let the light in. Depending on the time of day, this natural light may be plenty. Save the overhead or task lighting for those cloudy days. This will reduce your power usage and save you lightbulbs.

• Shop Green
There are now so many great options when looking for office supplies. Paper made from sugar cane, paper with recycled content, pens made form water bottles and the list goes on. Look for green options when shopping. If you don't them-- ask -- let retailers know that consumers want green options -- that's the best way to get them in stores.

• Reuse Your Shreds
All that paper that comes out of your paper shredder can be used as packing material. (Make sure it's a cross cut shredder so your secrets can't be reassembled and read.) Why buy packing materials when you can repurpose something you already have around? Waste not, Want not!

Have a Happy Green 2013!


  1. Great ideas! May I add, when you print shipping labels, print them on the back sides of junk mail or other used office paper? No one will know, and it cuts your paper costs down to $0. Also, printing labels on the draft setting saves ink. One other thing I do is split my packing tape into four strips when I tape on labels. It doesn't work with every brand, but with some cheap store brands it works very well. I just stick my piece of tape on the edge of the desk and tear it into four strips. I can do it by hand, and it's just as quick as pulling four pieces of tape off the pesky tape gun.

    1. Excellent tips! Thank you so much for sharing them! :)