Technology companies want to make it easy for businesses to be green. Solutions like energy-efficient light bulbs, smart thermostats and water filters (to replace plastic jugs) are increasingly widespread. As Earth Day 2018 (April 22) approaches, consider these three technology-based ways to lessen your organization’s environmental impact.
Recycle used electronics and IT equipment.
Electronic waste (e-waste) is growing exponentially, and only 15 to 20% is currently recycled. To aid the cause, Staples office supply and Best Buy chains offer free recycling at local stores; Office Depot offers the same for a low per-box fee. Your business may even be able to make some money with Dell’s electronics trade-in and recycling program. Another potential payoff can come from choosing an Information Technology Asset Disposition (ITAD) partner. “ITAD involves picking up and securely transporting the assets, ensuring data is secured and destroyed, evaluating the assets for resale potential and repairing them accordingly, and properly recycling scrap assets that can’t be resold,” says Clayton Miller, VP of business development for Revolution Recycling in Toronto, Ontario. “Done properly, your ITAD partner will share some of the resale revenue with you, essentially paying you for your garbage.” To learn more about electronics recycling in general, visit the National Center for Electronics Recycling.
Switch to digital document management.
Did somebody say “paperless office”? That’s a goal that continues to elude most companies. Paper waste, most of it from schools and businesses, is one of the biggest components of U.S. landfills. Enter cloud-based document management (DM) systems, which allow for digital file sharing and storage, as well as data backup and protection. Online editing and collaboration is included in some platforms and available for an extra fee in others. Check online business software review sites to find dozens of DM solutions tailored for small businesses. Popular options include eFile Cabinet, PinPoint, Dropbox Business, Zoho Docs and Google Drive for Work. Businesses can save $20 to $40 for every dollar invested in document management, according to TotallyPaperless.com, which offers an ROI calculator.
Rethink how you and your employees travel.
- Offer working from home: Remote work, which brings environmental benefits by reducing fuel consumption, is gaining in popularity: up to 25% of U.S. workers now telecommute at least some of the time. Employers can save more than $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce study.
- Encourage carpooling: For those who must commute by car, ride sharing is becoming more widespread. Uber, Lyft and their competitors are pushing incentives for their carpooling routes. The Waze community-based navigation software has created a Carpool app to help people connect with rides. There are also numerous regional ride-sharing platforms, such as IowaRideShare.org. Employers can encourage carpooling by offering incentives and friendly in-house competitions, suggests the commuter management solution platform RideAmigos.com.
- Think twice about business trips. As affordable video conferencing solutions—such as Microsoft Skype for Business, Join.me and ClickMeeting—have become more sophisticated, business owners are more likely to use them to connect with clients. “We teleconference instead of traveling wherever possible,” says Zondra Wilson, founder and CEO of Blu Skin Care in Hawthorne, California. “For must-go trips, we keep track of the miles driven and flown so we can buy carbon offsets from Carbonfund.org to make up for the greenhouse gas emissions.”
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