Five Ways to Green Your Business Today

Posted on February 10, 2018

A third of all the waste produced in Calgary is from businesses, with 40% of their waste going straight to the landfill. The unfortunate part is that the waste going to landfill is generally about 35% organics and 38% paper – both easily diverted to compost and recycling waste streams. Whether its your workplace or your own small business, being greener is easier than you think. Alex of our Green Workplace department gave us five tips to share with you that will help you green your business or to bring to the management team at your office!

1. Awareness and Sharing. It is the simplest thing to do on this list, and you can do it right now! Keep your eyes open around your workplace and make sure to point out where green options are lacking and sharing your information with coworkers. Coffee is often a major contributor to office waste, so make sure to remind everyone to bring their reusable mug, switch your office from k-cups to a different system, and compost coffee grounds!

2. Get a Waste Assessment. A waste assessment will give you a breakdown of what's in your waste and where. This can be incredibly useful information, letting you know if your waste diversion program needs an update, or your missing signage somewhere. A waste assessment is often needed for LEED or BOMA BEST certification, too. These are available through Green Calgary, but you can also ask your waste hauler about it, or request a DIY kit from the City of Calgary.

3. Green your Events. If you ever have office or business events, consider greening these get togethers. The waste from parties, meetings, and more all add up! Consider having washable mugs for coffee or tea at your office for meetings, and when you're organizing an event, consider setting up sorting stations for waste and getting compostable dinnerware for food. Green Calgary performs event greening services, but we also have a DIY guide on our website!

4. Waste Priority and Sorting Stations. Sometimes we forget that even recycling requires lots of water and energy for the processing. If you don't have to throw things away, even better. This starts with things like refusing conference swag bags full of pens, pamphlets, and other items you will never use. Just say, "No, thank you!" You can also make a difference by reducing and resourcing what materials get into your office, such as switching to paper products made of recycling paper where you can, or keeping purchase to only what's needed. You can also try reusing as much as possible! Make notepads out of paper in the recycling bin, for instance. For your sorting stations for waste, make sure they are equally accessible and clearly labelled. Colour coding makes them easier to use, and pictures of what goes in them get across language barriers for your staff who might not be as fluent in English.

5. Make a Green Team. One of the best things you can do is get organized to discuss these issues. Get together a committee to set realistic goals, make suggestions, and let the office know when they're doing well! If you can, get someone from every department on the committee because some green problems effect one department over another. Make sure to communicate successes internally, through a newsletter or something similar, so everyone knows the great work they're doing!

There you have it! Those are five ways to green your business. If you have questions about this process, feel free to reach out to Green Calgary through our help desk (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) at 403-230-1443x222, or online. We also have green guides for business you can download on our website. 

Do you have a green team? A really green office? We'd love to hear about it! Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.