April 22 is National Earth Day, and as an office administrator, that got me thinking about what options companies have to become more earth-friendly and green without spending too much green to do it. Businesses must keep costs down in order to stay profitable. Too often, tasks such as recycling are seen as something extraneous that will cause a lot more work for a lot more money, and when it comes to the bottom line, the payoff of a greener earth won’t pay anyone’s bills. However, business recycling can be set up very easily for very cheap, and in today’s competitive market, a company that makes an effort to be green can stand out amongst the crowd to consumers who have a lot of options to choose from.
Here at Identity we believe in great work, and we strive to apply our beliefs to every aspect of the business, not just client work. One way we do that is to utilize a recycling program. It’s a quick and easy program to set up with extremely minimal costs. But the real payoff is knowing that for very little effort and expense, we are doing our part to help the environment.
We have bins set up for paper, plastic bottles, cans and cardboard which take up no more than a few feet. Any office could easily find a few feet of unused space somewhere out of the way for recycling receptacles. We also have small trays scattered throughout the office in convenient locations, and especially near the trashcans, to collect waste paper. It didn’t take much time for our employees to get used to tossing old papers into the tray next to the trashcan, instead of in the trashcan, or to put their bottles in the designated bin instead of the garbage.
As far as costs go, there’s a small monthly rental fee for the paper storage bin. It’s literally no more than the cost of a case of soda, and we purchased a couple cheap garbage cans for the cans and bottles. The paper collection trays were also an affordable purchase from the recycling company. Now, we simply call for a pickup whenever our containers are full, and they’re picked up for a small flat fee. These costs are so minimal that it’s completely paid for—and then some—by the fact that there is much less waste being produced, thus lessening the costs associated with waste disposal.
Another great office recycling tip is to recycle used toner cartridges. Most cartridges come with instructions on how to return them to the manufacturer when empty, but most office supply stores will also take used cartridges to be refurbished. If you get office supplies delivered to your office, oftentimes they have programs set up where they will take boxed up cartridges away for free when making your supply delivery. Some companies will even pay you for your used cartridges, so you can have the satisfaction of keeping them out of landfills at the same time as making a little extra cash.
In the past six months, Identity’s recycling efforts have saved approximately 3,500 gallons of water, two barrels of oil, 8.5 trees, and conserved 1.5 cubic yards of landfill space – and those are the results of just one office. Imagine what the combined efforts of multiple or larger offices would look like.
So, this National Earth Day, think about what a difference a little effort makes, and decide what you can do to help you, and your office, be green.