The going green initiative has been well under way for a few years now, but many businesses – small and large – are still hesitant to join the movement. They often assume that going green is synonymous with spending more money when this simply not the case. Businesses that cut down on carbon emissions and energy usage may have to purchase new products that are more efficient, but these end up paying for themselves in the long run due to lower operating costs. When it comes to our planet, every little bit helps so even seemingly small steps can add up to big benefits for businesses and the environment.
Cut Out Expensive and Damaging Commutes
For many offices, employees commuting to work are the biggest negative impact the company has on the environment. One vehicle can produce tons of damaging carbon dioxide emissions per year and this compounds when every employee is driving one vehicle to the same place day in and day out. Setting up a commuting policy can drastically reduce the number of vehicles that a company is putting onto the road every day, and employees end up saving a lot of money as well. Better yet, if a business can implement telecommuting options it can reduce carbon emissions even further and save more money. An employee base that telecommutes means that the company can reduce its office size and save money with utilities, leases, and printing.
A simple fact of the matter is that businesses no longer need to send employees flying around the world for every meeting. Obviously face to face meetings are still needed, especially with building inspections and the like, but more often than not video conferencing can serve the same purpose without relying on air travel that is damaging to the atmosphere. Technology is advancing at such a rate that there are few drawbacks to using phone or videoconferencing over travel. Businesses save money by avoiding expensive travel arrangements and save immense amount of their employees’ time.
Try to Go Paperless by Utilizing Cloud Storage and Using Efficient Printers
Businesses are one of the key culprits in paper waste but there are steps they can take to cut down on paper usage. Cloud storage technologies allow for large amounts of data to be saved and accessed from any location with an internet connection. This means employees or clients can merely download any files they need without having to have a hard copy sent to them. Of course, hard copies are unavoidable in an office but by purchasing a quality laser printer offices can efficiently print large quantities. Recycling and using recycled laser cartridges further cuts down on cost and environmental impact.
Smart Power Strips, Efficient Lighting
More steps can be taken around the office to insure that the workplace is using energy efficiently. Plugging computers and appliances into smart power strips keeps these products from using electricity when they are not being used. After everyone clocks out the power strips can tell that the devices are no longer being used and can disconnect from the outlet automatically. This keeps appliances and electronics from using “vampire power” which can add up to a big electric bill for larger offices. Efficient lighting techniques can also add up to huge savings. Placing automatic dimmers than turn off lights when no one is present, or dim the lights when there is enough natural lighting, can help to save up to 30% on energy costs.
These are in no way the only ways businesses can help save money, and the planet. The important factor is realizing that going green does not equal higher operating costs; the opposite is almost always true. Not only do businesses save money, but they also increase their public image and their employees pride in the company.
This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.
In America’s short two and a half century existence it has climbed to the number two spot in producing the most garbage per person. Americans currently produce 4.43 pounds of garbage per person, per day. In 2010, this equated to 250 million tons of trash being produced in America alone. Of all of this garbage, only 34.1 percent of it was actually recycled. Thirty-four percent may not seem like that bad of a number, especially considering the fact that in 1960 only 6.4 percent of garbage produced in America was recycled, but the amount of garbage produced has increased at a large amount.
The amount of trash produced by Americans has increased by around 160 million tons, but the amount of trash recycled has only increased by about 80 million tons, leaving the rest of the garbage lying around on the Earth. Most of the recycled garbage consists of paper and cardboard, but many other things are recyclable as well, including glass, wood, metal, plastic, rubber and yard waste. With nearly every item in people’s lives having the ability to be recycled, it should be possible for the amount of recycled garbage to keep pace with the amount of garbage produced in the nation.
The computer recycling professionals at ROUND2 INC., an Avnet Company, brought you this infographic.
Kids love to learn; their brains are like sponges just waiting to soak up any information we provide. One of the best ways to teach children is to make a game of the lesson. Young children learn best if they are having fun doing it. If you want to teach your kids, be them your own or children in your classroom, how to recycle, make a game of it. Use these fun recycling facts to create a trivia game for the children in your life.
With a recipe box, a package of colored note cards and a few rewards, you can easily create a recycling trivia game. Write a fact on each card, come up with a question for the opposite side of the card and keep them all tidy in your recipe box. When it’s time to play, simply pull out your recipe box, ask the child to choose a color, pull one out and read the question; it couldn’t be easier!
If all of the plastic bottles were removed from landfills across the nation, and laid end-to-end, they would circle the plant four times.
In America, we throw away enough steel, every year, to remake every new car that has been produced.
Making paper from recycled materials, instead of new fiber, requires 70 percent less energy.
Americans recycle only one out of every four plastic bottles they use, and we use about four million bottles each hour.
Almost every glass bottle and jar produced today is made of at least 25 percent recycled glass.
Making aluminum cans from recycled materials requires 95 percent less energy than making the same cans from bauxite ore.
By recycling just a single glass bottle, we could save enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb lit for four hours.
About ten million tons of newspaper are thrown away, instead of recycled, every year.
Every person in America uses two trees worth of paper products every year.
If people recycled as many steel cans as they threw away, it would be equal to the amount of energy needed to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for two days.
These facts should be known by everyone, but they are especially good to use for recycling trivia games. Teaching children in a fun manner will ensure that they absorb, and retain, the majority of the information you are providing. By turning these facts into a trivia game, you will create a new generation of recycling Americans.
This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..
Learn how to make your own seed starting pots from recycling your newspaper. It's quick, easy and even if you forget to remove the newspaper pot when you plant the seedling the newspaper is biodegradeable. Each video shows different ways to start seeds for your garden in an Earth friendly way.
How to Create Seed-Starting Pots from Recycling Newspapers
Before you shell out your money to purchase those expensive peat pods, these planting pots are made by rolling recycled newspaper.
Take one full sheet of newspaper, leaving it folded in half lengthwise flat on the table.
Fold it in half once lengthwise. Repeat.
Take a straight sided glass and place it on your newspaper strip. You'll want the top of the glass to be positioned at the center point of the thin side of newspaper.
Roll the glass and newspaper tightly so the newspaper overlaps the glass.
Take the overlapping newspaper and push it into the glass.
Remove the newspaper, you might need to wiggle it.
Place the newspaper pot in your hand, place it on the table. Push the inside overlap back down to form the bottom. You can use the bottom of the glass to make it more secure.
This method it's recommended to remove the newspaper pot before planting because the newspaper layers are thick and will require more time to biodegrade in the soil. You can then simply toss the newspaper cup into your compost pile.
Creative Seed Starting by Garden Girl
Recycle Newspapers and a Beverage Holder from Your Local Fast Food Restaurant
Using the cardboard drink holder you get from the local fast food drive through, take about 4 small square pieces of newspaper and shove them into the holders.
Mist with a spray bottle to make it easier to work with and continue shaping your new seed starter pot.
This method uses less layers of newspaper and will have a faster time biodegrading than the method above. It might not be as necessary to remove the newspaper before planting. Try both methods and test what works bets in your area and your garden.
Halved Egg Shells Make Tiny Seed Starter Pots
You'll need a cardboard egg carton and 12 halved eggshells. There isn't much space for plants, so you'll want to use this method for smaller plant varieties.
Place potting soil in each egg shell, being sure not to press it tightly so roots have room.
Replace the egg shell in the egg carton and cover with plastic wrap to keep moisture levels high. This will help the seeds germinate faster.
When ready to plant, simply crush the eggshell gently and plant the entire thing. As the egg shell biodegrades it will add nutrients to the soil.
Create a Mini-Greenhouse with a Recycled Cupcake Plastic Container
When you purchase cupcakes from the local grocery store or bakery, the plastic container can be recycled in this project building a mini-greenhouse.
Poke holes in each section of the plastic container to help keep oxygen inside the container as well keeping the soil from sitting in stagnant water.
Place small square pieces of newspaper to create small seed starter pots in each section.
Fill the newspaper cups with soil and plant your seed.
At only $28 the Every/Any clutch purse by Ecoist is colorfully functional. Made from recycled trash, candy wrappers in this purse’s case, Ecoist is diverting waste from landfills and planting a tree for every product sold. No matter what the occasion this Confetti Every/Any clutch purse is fun and will hold your most essential belongings; cell phone, keys, cash, glasses, and some make-up.
“Ecoist gives new life to worthless candy wrappers, newspapers, and plastic bag: turning trash into trendy totes, bags, purses, and jewelry.”
Made from recycled Chinese newspapers, these colored pencils are an artistic statement all on their own. Free of wood, trees are jumping for joy. Eco-friendly doesn’t have to be boring. And the tube is practical for carrying the set along wherever you go. Yesterday’s News Recycled Colored Pencils.
Magazines from local donations as well as the printer overruns, these colorful and glossy clutches keep 15,000 magazines out of the landfills every year. Each Recycled Magazine Clutch is made of about 84 pages. This clutch makes a perfect Earth friendly gift for any special lady on your list.
Hand crafted, multi colored crayons made from unwanted crayons collected through the National Crayon Recycle Program. Each crayon is 100% recycled and a work of art – no two alike. Crazy Crayons will only use non-toxic crayons and every purchase will benefit the Crayon Recycle Program. The Crayon Recycle Program takes old, rejected, broken crayons and turns them into new crayons. In addition to saving land fills from over 43,000 pounds of unwanted crayons, Crazy Crayons employs people with developmental disabilities to create a positive impact with the community.
To send in used crayons, just collect them, box them, and ship them. It's best if you leave the wrappers on the crayons, you'll be saving Crazy Crayons time and yourself time. It'll be much easier to separate the black, purple and blue crayons when the wrapper labels the color. Search around for the best shipping costs, because you're covering it. Look into standard USPS "flat rate" boxes so you'll avoid paying by weight.
Once your ready, ship your crayons to:
Crayon Recycling Program
721 Village Road, Pelican Lake, Wisconsin 54463
If you're closer to Florida, it'll cost less to ship to their brother (Dave's Crayon Workshop in Ocala, Florida):
Crayon Recycling Program
14180 SW 30th Street Road, Ocala, Florida 34481
About a pound of recycled hair has the potential in making a hair mat that will have the ability to soak up a quart of oil, and then reused 100 times. It's a very efficient method to help clean up emergency oil spills using recycled hair. And with thousands of salons mailing their hair clippings, it's much safer for our planet than tossing that hair into a landfill. Hair is very adsorbent and will "cling to" whatever it is meant to be collecting. Started in 2000, the Hair for Oil Spills Program is still going strong. Many salons will reuse the box they received shampoo in, line it with a plastic garbage bag, and fill it with hair (preferably washed) – picking up the shipping costs.
Paul Mitchell Schools are shipping their daily discarded hair off the floors and helping this creative initiative. The average hair salon cuts an average of one pound of hair per day, and with over 300,000 hair salons in the United States can you imagine how many hair mats can be created? If you're the owner of a salon, barber, dog groomer, wig maker, or waste wool business, you could be helping too. Matter of Trust will accept other "natural fibers" such as dog fur from groomers, horse hair, feathers, and waste wool.
I was just browsing through one of my links below, Earth Share,and they reminded me that you can recycle your used cell phones. I remember reading that a while back, but completely forgot about it.
You see, I always keep my last model phone in my closet because you never know when your current one will be lost, stolen, or just stop working. And let me tell you, it came in handy for my husband, Branndon, when he thought his phone was stolen. Luckily it was just misplaced, but at least he had a phone for the few weeks his was hiding.
But I love the idea of being able to recycle them when I have no more use for them. Especially with Branndon planning on getting an iPhone in the few months.
So when I was browsing through their website I saw that Earth Share teamed up with CollectiveGood. Basically send your used phones, pagers, PDAs and accessories to Collective Good, you can click here, then they will send a donation to Earth Share. Isn't that simple.
CollectiveGood partners with charities and companies to maximize cell phone recycling by making donations everytime a phone is recycled. They also try to limit the environmental impact with the recycling as well as disposal of non-functional cell phones in accordance with locan and national environmental standards, and provides affordable modern communications to citizens in the developing world.