With climate change and diminishing resources dominating the news, small business owners are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. Simple steps such as recycling soda cans and turning off lights are a good place to start. But there are other ways you can make a difference to benefit both the environment and your bottom line.
Take energy use, for example.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program ( www.energystar.gov)says business-specific energy efficiency upgrades can provide a positive cash flow from the beginning.
Some "sure energy savers" include replacing incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which cost about 75 percent less to operate and last about 10 times longer. Changing heating and air- conditioning filters regularly and investing in regular "tuneups" also will keep the system operating efficiently.
There are likely more recyclable items around your office than you realize.
Your municipal solid waste department can provide information on materials and recycling procedures. Another good source is the Electronic Industries Alliance's e-cycling Web site at www.eiae.org, which provides information on finding local agencies and organizations that will recycle computers and printers.
Purchasing products and equipment made from recycled materials is another option. According to GreenBiz.com, recycled-content products typically perform as well as or better than virgin products and are often competitively priced.
Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of the Greater Baltimore SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a counselor or visit www.scorebaltimore.org. To send a question to SCORE, e-mail email@example.com.