How green is your small business? Implementing environmentally friendly practices at the office is an obvious choice for saving the planet, but green practices can often save you something else, too: money. Now more than ever, there are tons of small, eco-friendly changes you can make to lower your monthly spending — and they’re easy to do. Kill two birds with one stone (or better yet, save a few) with these clean, green tips that will save the Earth — and your cash.

  1. Drink Tap Water and Use a Water Filter

Each day more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away in the U.S. alone — and that’s waste that takes 400 years to decompose (seriously) and often ends up in rivers and oceans where animals can accidentally eat it. Switching to tap water and using a water filter is a no-brainer, both for the environmental good and for the money you’ll save by not buying all those cases of water. In the meantime, you can save any bottles or cans you have and take them to your nearest return/recycling center to get paid for recycling.

      2. Identify Your “Energy Vampires  and Vanquish Them

Hidden in every office are sneaky appliances and devices — like computers, cable boxes, and cellphone chargers, for example — that draw electricity even when they’re not in use, just as long as they’re plugged in – earning them the nickname “energy vampires.” Once you spot them, keep them from raising your bills and using unnecessary energy by unplugging them whenever they’re not being used, or by using a power strip that will turn them off automatically.

      3. Carpool

Starting an office carpool for employees who live near each other is a simple, easy way to cut down on car emissions that pollute the air. It might even build team spirit while making the trip to work a little more pleasant.

      4. Check for Leaky Faucets or Leaky Toilet Flappers and Fix Them

A dripping faucet or slow-filling toilet tank may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can waste gallons of water and cost you big bucks when it comes to your bills. Even a minor leak can cost as much as $70 per month. If you notice a leaky sink or toilet flap, it’s smart to take the time to fix it right away: The $5 or 5 minutes it takes to correct these small problems can save you money in the long run.

      5. Use Real Plates Instead of Paper Ones

And the same goes for everything else you use in the kitchen: bowls, cutlery, coffee cups. Even though washing dishes isn’t anyone’s favorite activity, ditching the disposable stuff means you’ll be cutting your contribution to a landfill — where paper products alone can take 20 years to decompose. By making the switch from paper, plastic, and foam to more permanent wares, you’ll also see a change in how much you have to spend on kitchen supplies. So start to love washing your dishes!

      6. Switch to Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

While energy efficient or energy-saving light bulbs may cost more per bulb at first, you’ll be saving money over time. Energy efficient bulbs typically use 25-80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and can last three to 25 times longer, so you’ll have to buy replacements less often and save money on electric bills.

      7. Make a Point to Go Paperless

Not only does printing impact the environment for the obvious reason — cutting down trees — but there are also the secondary impacts that come from the energy used to process paper and transport it to supply stores, and to your business. By taking opportunities to send contracts, newsletters and invoices online instead of on paper, you’ll spend less on printer supplies and save a few trees.

      8. Conduct Your Own Office-Wide Energy Audit

It may sound intimidating, but conducting your own energy audit can be done in a few simple-but-thorough steps. Once you find out where your small business’s personal problem areas are, you can start to come up with customized solutions that will keep you from wasting energy and put money back in your pocket.  

      9. Install Solar Shades to Block the Sun and Provide Insulation

About 30 percent of your heating energy leaks out through windows, which let out warm air and raise your heating bill. Installing roller shades will not only save you money by insulating your office space, but custom blinds will also protect you, your floors, and your furniture from harmful UVA and UVB rays. So stop throwing money out the window and invest in some solar shades.

For small business owners, becoming more eco-friendly has never been easier and more important than it is today. Taking these simple steps to go green can make a big difference to your budget and the planet, and you can get started right away. Start making a positive impact today!

About the Author: 

Kenneth Gordon serves as the Assistant VP of Factory Direct Blinds. Kenneth is responsible for overseeing the planning, development, and execution of a Factory Direct Blinds marketing and advertising initiatives.

Before joining Factory Direct Blinds, Kenneth served six years in the United States Air Force as a Military Police Officer.

Kenneth enjoys spending time with his two sons and beautiful wife Brittany when not working.