On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day ignited the environmental movement across the United States and the rest of the world. Nearly 50 years later, we have made tremendous strides in reducing carbon emissions and cleaning up polluted bodies of water. However, as the organizers for Earth Day 2018 have emphasized, we have a long way to go before we can claim a complete victory in the development of a sustainable environment.

Earth Day 2018 focuses on plastic pollution and its negative impact on the environment. Plastic injures marine life and it disrupts the growth of human hormones. The long-lasting material litters American beaches and destroys landscape in countries such as Canada and Germany. Earth Day 2018 is not just about how individuals can implement proven sustainable practices. Businesses have a stake as well in promoting a green ecosystem.

Benefits of Running a Sustainable Business

Businesses benefit from implementing environmentally sustainable strategies. Going green cuts costs by using fewer resources. With a rapidly growing number of people making the transition to greener lifestyles, businesses that promote sustainability attract more customers because of fulfilling civic and environmental responsibilities. The question is not whether a business should promote sustainability, but instead, the question is what are the five simple changes you can make to be more sustainable this Earth Day.

Snail Mail

Yes, the digital era has created less demand for postage supplies, such as stamps and envelopes. Yet, many businesses end personalized letters via snail mail in envelopes that never see the light of a recycling day. Businesses that switch from one time and done envelopes to recyclable envelopes enjoy a healthier bottom line by reducing the cost of office supplies. Reversible envelopes that are recyclable extend the lifespan of paper products even longer. Businesses can further promote office supply sustainability by not sending out unnecessary correspondence, which decreases the demand for paper and printer ink.

Eco Friendly Office Supplies

The Environmental Protection Agency released a report stating Americans throw out more than 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. Your business can change the environmentally unhealthy trend by ordering reusable pens for everyone working in the office. All you have to do is refill the ink and you have a pen that lasts for years. This practice also saves businesses money in the office supplies section of the company budget. Explain to your peers about the importance of buying office supplies that come with an eco-friendly certification. Moreover, start performing a waste audit much like restaurant managers do at the end of the night by tracking the amount of food waste on a dinner shift. The office supplies waste audit can occur less frequently, say one time per week.

Digital Sustainability

Electronics turnover has increased over the past 10 years, as electronics manufacturers race to create the next big thing in computers and communication devices. Not only does the faster electronics turnover cost businesses more money, it also costs the environment because of the dumping of metal components in landfills. By recycling the parts built into obsolete computers and accessories, your business takes a huge step in promoting sustainability. Some companies operate take back or buyback programs as part of an asset recycling strategy.

End Wasteful Web Hosting

You understand the economic and environmental value of turning off electronic devices not in use. Did you know your business can promote sustainability by choosing a web host that uses power coming from a renewable energy source? Operating five nuclear power plants is the energy equivalent of running every server in the United States at the same time. Going green with web hosting saves the web hosting company money by generating its own renewable source of energy. Lower costs typically pass on to customers such as companies that have made the savvy business decision to go with a green promoting web host.

Speaking of Energy

A growing number of businesses have fully embraced using renewable energy to power lights, electronics, and appliances. Fossil fuels leave a deep carbon footprint that takes decades to eradicate, while renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power provide clean sources of energy. Wind farms have popped up all over the world in regions that experience enough wind to justify the investments. Solar energy and solar-friendly roofing materials have gained acceptance by more businesses. The only issues preventing renewable energy from becoming the model for businesses is the inability to cost compete with fossil fuels. Because of advanced technology, energy sources like wind and solar have closed the cost gap with fossil fuels over the past 20 years.

The steps we mention that promote environmental sustainability appear to be small steps, but when thousands of businesses around the world follow suit, we have created a sustainability machine that reduces waste and pollution. Simple to implement, the five changes we recommend will have long-lasting positive ramifications for your customers and the community where you operate your business.

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