Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green and profitable: The Three R's of Green Business

As the economic situation continues to remain grim for businesses across the country and around the world, some companies are abandoning so-called green practices in an effort to save money.

What most of those businesses don;t realize is that truly green practices are are cost effective. A few require a long term perspective, but many offer short term savings as well.

This post is the first in a series of green business tips designed to transform your green business goals into more green in your pocket. Watch for a new idea or perspective on profitable green business every Monday.

The mantras of green is "Reuse, Reduce, Recycle"

It's a familiar phrase. We've all heard it. But are we getting it?

Many individuals and businesses only focus on the last part of that equation. And while recycling is a critical part of the green lifestyle, it's number three on the list

So what about one and two? Guess what? These are GREEN business practices that will save you money from day one!!

Think about it...


Switch from paper based project folders or memos to digital. You save paper, the cost of folders, toner, trash collection costs, and probably boost productivity time if you have documents that previously had to be re-keyed for edits or needed to be filed.


Think of second uses for things. Or choose things that can be reused. The backs of used printer paper become notepads. Purchase second hand office furniture -- much of it is like-new. Replace disposable coffee cups with one real mug for everyone. Donate safe, non-toxic scrap materials to a local school's art program -- you may get a tax deduction! Shred incoming boxes to use as packing material for outgoing shipments.

Look around your business. See what can be reduced, without hurting morale or productivity. See what can be reused without affecting quality or safety. Solict input from employees to increase their buy-in and commitment.

Remember, recycling is number three. Save YOUR green first, with Numbers 1 and 2!

Friday, September 11, 2009

New weekly feature - the best of green

Each week, we'll feature the best green news story from the previous week. Join us to stay on top of what hot in the world of "going green" each Friday.

This week's story comes from Canadian journalist and blogger Tyler Hamilton. According to Hamilton,

A British Columbia-based company called Free Energy International has signed a deal with an undisclosed oil and gas exploration and production company in Alberta, in an area known as Swan Hills. Free Energy will build two 1-megawatt geothermal plants that take hot water — a co-product of oil and natural gas during the pumping process — and extract the heat from it to generate electricity. The $7 million project will tap wells that are around 9,000 feet deep, and temperatures of the fluids can easily reach 170 degrees F in high volumes. After the heat is extracted from the water using heat exchangers, it is used to run an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power plant. The water is later pumped back into the ground. Free Energy will build, own and operate this binary cycle plant and the oil company has agreed to buy all the electricity produced for the same rate it was paying to a previous supplier.

Read the rest of the story on his green energy blog, Clean Break.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sorting out the green paper madness

You've decided to do the right thing and go green with all your paper goods. Forms, applications, even holiday cards. So you start shopping for the greenest choices, but before long, your head is aching and your mind is swimming.


Post Consumer...........


Pre consumer.........




Reduced Carbon Footprint....


What does it all mean???????

Here are a few websites to help clear up the madness and direct you towards the right materials for all your business paper.

For greeting cards, business holiday cards and such

For computer paper and copy paper and other general office paper

For photographers or anyone who uses photo paper

For businesses that buy paper in large quantities

Friday, August 28, 2009

Looking at the long run...learning about lifecycle costs

Sure, that new server or car or television set has a big seal proclaiming its energy savings. But that's for now. What are the long term energy and waste costs of owning it? And how do those compare with competing solutions that might have bigger seals or lower apparent efficiencies to start?

Years ago...maybe even decades, companies started looking at the lifecycle cost of technology and electronics. But the process fell out of favor.

The costs for running the numbers were too high. And the results were all too often unreliable. But as businesses become more concerned about the long-term costs of technology purchased today, the concept of lifecycle costs is making a comeback.

According to an article by Joel Makower,

In the past few months, LCA [Life Cycle Analysis] has moved to the forefront of corporate environmental efforts, propelled by enabling technology, the prospects of climate change legislation, and the growing demands for radical transparency by consumers, business customers, government regulators, and retailers, notably Walmart. And it's not just about modeling individual products and processes. LCA is moving from the shadows and into the limelight, a strategic tool for environmental leadership companies.

That's good news for cost and environmentally conscious companies...and for the rest of us who stand to benefit from cleaner, more cost-efficient technology. Read the rest of the story at The Renaissance of Lifecycle Thinking | GreenBiz.com

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Truth About Green Business

The Truth About Green Business | The GreenBiz Bookstore | GreenBiz.com

Too many business owners and managers think they need to make a choice between being green and profitable. The author of this book dispels that falsehood and teaches you how greener business practices actually mean more green in your pocket!

We met an example of this earlier in this blog when we met carpet giant and successful business man Ray Anderson...learn why his story could be yours!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The high cost of idling....

Soccer Moms and ballet Dads turn off your engines

Author: Lance Shugerman

It’s only a minute or two, right? Just waiting for your child to come out of school or get off the bus. Just a couple of minutes before ballet class or football practice ends.

But have you ever added up all those “few minutes?”

Idling your engine for five minutes a day waiting to pick up your child at school, multiplied by 180 days in the school year equals 15 hours a year.. Would you leave your car idling outside your house for 15 hours?

....Read the rest at ArticlesBase.com - Soccer Moms and ballet Dads turn off your engines

From Articlesbase.com.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Co-op advertising is a green choice

Despite the huge growth in online advertising, paper ads are here to stay. Magazines, direct mail, flyers, newspaper ads and inserts all remain popular choices for getting messages to potential buyers. Even green companies need to advertise.

But as a green business, we face a unique dilemma. How can we reach the print media reader without compromising our green standards?

Think about it: Sending out 100,000 direct mail pieces touting an environmentally-friendly company raises a host of issues, from paper choices to the carbon impact of the delivery vehicles to waste generation. And yet, we cannot afford to miss the chance to reach customers, if we want to remain in business.

While we can make greener choices in the paper and inks we select, the old-fashioned practice of co-op advertising can offer an even greater benefit for the earth, and potentially, for our businesses.

The concept is simple. Two or more companies offering complementary services or products advertise together on one flyer or in one magazine or insert ad.

The immediate benefit is less paper, less ink and less trash generated to have two or more on one page instead of each separately. But there is another plus....

Co-op advertising allows businesses to offer a more complete line of services or products to each customer. For instance, a green lawn care service can co-op with an organic plant nursery, so potential customers can buy the plants they need and find the service to care for their landscaping, all in one ad. A green energy products company could co-op with a contractor who uses environmentally friendly building methods. By meeting both needs, you increase the chance that a customer will act on the ad.

This works for B2B clients, too. In the case of the sponsors of this blog, MyStatePosters, they could do a co-op ad with a green cleaning supply company giving restaurant owners a way to buy green cleaning products and green labor law materials, all from one ad. Both are necessary but not exciting products a restaurant needs -- how convenient to find both in one ad.

Co-op advertising isn't new. I have paper church fans and ad cards from the late 1800's and early 1900's that used the same technique to draw customers into related stores, or even into the same part of town (shop here, eat next door.) Who knew they were so green way back then?