Meeting our environmental responsibilities – be it at a domestic or business level – is more pressing than ever. Landfills are full, and oceans are choking. A recent report revealed that Americans are throwing away 230 million tons of waste each year – more than any other nation in the world. That said, it’s not too late – we’ve still a window of time to turn things around for the better.

Operating a green business is instrumental in creating and leading positive change. Notwithstanding the hugely positive impact on the environment, being green is also good for your bottom line. Adhering to the 3 R’s of Waste Hierarchy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), and conserving resources can actually save your business money in the long-run.

So without further ado, here are my smart tips for businesses looking to take ownership of their environmental footprint:

1. Office Supplies

In the U.S. alone, over four million disposable pens are thrown away every day. And that’s just pens. Your businesses can make changes by stocking the office with reusable pens – ones which simply have their inks refilled. The process of refilling makes it easier to keep track of pens, rather than losing them and simply replacing them. Plus they actually work out cheaper long-term.

Additionally, consider appointing someone – another member of staff, or office manager – to oversee and keep track of the stationary cupboard. Be transparent by explaining to your team that the process isn’t to take everyone back to their school days, but to ‘green’ up the office. Eventually, people will start to realise the need to take ownership of their own environmental footprint and impact.

For a more accurate picture of how much your business throws out, you could conduct a waste review or audit. It’s important that you’re aware of what you can recycle as well: throwing just a small amount of unrecyclable material can cause the entire portion of recycled material to become contaminated and therefore end in a landfill fate.

2. Procurement

One of the easiest ways to make your business more environmentally-friendly is to practice green procurement. Review your procurement policies when looking for suppliers and choose to source goods and services that have been produced sustainably and don’t require excessive packaging. Make sure your supplies don’t contain substances which are toxic and harmful to the environment, can be recycled/reused, and are made from renewable materials. Be inquisitive and curious when researching and speaking to suppliers as to where the good are coming from and how they will be presented when they get to you.

Finding suppliers in your area is a good place to start with green procurement. Are there any local companies that can supply your business with what it needs? Rather than sourcing products online, ask around in your locale. Some smaller suppliers may not have a massive online presence but do business via word-of-mouth and be just as good at it.

Additional tips: check if your suppliers offer a service where they take back packaging for reuse. In terms of logistics, find couriers who commit to carbon-neutral delivery methods.

3. Postage

There’s no denying we’ve firmly entered into the digital era. Yet the use of paper in your business is inevitable – particularly if you’re sending out letters and direct mail which require envelopes. Make the easy switch to eco-friendly envelopes, and envelopes…