There are many politicos, environmentalists, and business-savvy CEOs that constantly discuss ways to save money, save energy, and save the whales. Rather than parroting policies and statistics about global warming, and environmental catastrophes, why not do something about it? With the New Year upon us, there’s no better time to make a few small changes to your business in order to make it environmentally friendly. Here are a few great ways to make your business green!

Send Documents and Reports Electronically: With the digitization of most documents and processes, a simple way to reduce your paper use is to send your reports and records electronically. This eliminates the paper, as well as the transporting costs of delivering them. Whenever it is possible, consider how you might send things electronically.

Purchase Secondhand Office Furniture: Before you upgrade your office space, consider the environmental consequences of purchasing 25 brand-new, pressure-sealed, toxically-varnished African mahogany desks. You can find thousands and almost-new or like-new pieces of office furniture on the Internet, or even at an antique store. Not only will you reduce waste, but you can save a pretty penny with secondhand furniture.

Purchase Indoor Plants: While they may be nice to look at, indoor plants also clean the air, especially in rooms with poor circulation or no windows. Find some nice houseplants to decorate your office and increase the oxygen circulation!

Use Scrap Paper for Printing/Print on Both Sides: Unless you’re printing official documents, there’s really no reason to use a fresh sheet of paper every time you print. Use any scrap papers that won’t jam your printer, and be sure to print on both sides of the paper whenever you can.

Use Direct Deposit: In a typical hard-check scenario, an employer passes out paper checks and envelopes, and the employees drive to the bank to deposit them. With direct deposit, you can simply hand out a small receipt and that’s that. No wasted paper and no wasted gas.

Unplug Equipment at Night: Many of us turn off our computers or monitors overnight, but the standby power (often called “phantom power” or “vampire power”) is unnecessarily still wasting energy. Encourage employees to turn off all electronic devices at once by plugging them into a power strip or surge protector with an on/off switch. Standby power can be 10 to 15 watts per device; just think of all the devices in your office!

Use Solar Power and Green Power: If you aren’t ready to make the step to installing solar power, try to purchase only green power from your electric company, or from buildings that are off the grid. Most power companies offer the option of purchasing only environmentally-friendly power for a slightly higher cost. You can even purchase 50% of your power at this higher rate if you aren’t fiscally able to purchase 100%. Every little bit counts.

Use Virtual Document Management: With our RAPID software, and other great online or virtual document management options, you can essentially eliminate paper documents from your office! Whether doctors in your practice are using tablet computers in lieu of paper charts, or you simply want better organization of patients’ medical history, you really cannot go wrong with digital documentation and notes.

Purchase 100% Recycled Paper: This is another scenario where you have to spend a little extra green in order to go green. Although the paper is used, the recycled variety can be up to 25% more expensive, but is often a little stronger and brighter. If you’re reusing your paper, and printing on both sides, you’ll hardly notice the extra few dollars.

Encourage Carpooling and Public Transportation: A major source of energy costs stem from driving to and from work each day. Encourage your employees to carpool or take public transportation by offering incentives or covering a percentage of their bus or train travel costs.

There are so many other ways to create a green business! Consider using email marketing rather than snail-mailing your promotions and fliers. Do not supply your staff with notepads and post-its unless they ask, and add a nice message to your emails, “Think before you print!” or, “Please consider the environment before printing this message.” You’d be surprised how much of a difference that little reminder can make!