Small businesses are the proud employers of more than 52 percent of working Americans, and this is according to the Small Business Administration, and also comparable to the percentages of other developed countries in the world. It also follows that they are responsible for the generation of a substantial portion of the harmful waste being released to the environment.
Below are some ways a small business can be able to reduce this and help the environment. Go through these tips and see what can work for your business. Some are more effective than others, but all will work toward one goal.
1. Printing your marketing materials on recycled paper
Whether you plan on sending out flyers, pamphlets or any other type of marketing literature, you should try to have it printed on recycled paper.
2. Holding meetings remotely
When meeting with your work colleagues or external vendors, try doing the meetings over the internet. Tools such as Skype and TokBox will help you do this without having to spend any money.
3. Sending out Emails
Instead of sending out paper newsletters, do it using email. You will be able to save money in the process, but you will also be doing the environment a favor.
Email marketing has proved to be a great tool because it gives you more insights into your audience, and how your marketing messages are being received, unlike paper which you never know. Some of the insights you can get include how many people opened the email, how long they were open, and the links they clicked.
4. Indicate that the paper flyers are recyclable
You should make sure it can be easily seen. Mitch Hedberg is a comedian who has a joke that when walking on the street and someone gives you a flyer; it is like they are telling you “Here, throw it away”. This is not far from the truth. If you have to print on paper, indicate that the print is recyclable using visible fonts. It might seem like a no-brainer to you, but there are some people who need to be reminded.
5. Buying marketing materials locally
This will help because it minimizes the cost of shipping and also good for the environment.
6. Using GreenSeal.org products
This is a good idea because Green Seal’s said in his own words that they use “lifecycle-based sustainability standards for products, services, and companies and also offering certification for those meeting the criteria”. Your only work will be choosing from the products that have been certified by them.
7. Selling Online
This can sound like an obvious thing, but there are many small businesses out there who are not selling their product and services online. Selling online is a great thing for your business and also the environment. When you sell online, you have expanded your customer base from your local area to the whole world (There is also the fact that you are selling 24 hours a day, seven days a week). Doing this will be great for the environment because it means fewer people will drive to your store while you keep selling more products. There are some people who argue against this because they see the impact from shipping will take away the gains, but this will be covered later (the power of shipping greenly is within your control).
8. Purchasing promotional products encouraging green behavior directly
If you are interested in branded water, instead of choosing those in disposable bottles, go with those that come in reusable water bottles. You can also choose to go with branded reusable coffee mugs. This means you will not be adding to the 2.5 million plastic water bottles that are being used every single hour in the US alone, but the marketing message can be seen for longer since the bottles will be reused.
9. Green Promos
Promoting your workplace in a green manner is a great idea. This can be done with things like eco-friendly bags, hats, t-shirts or otherwise. It’s a great way to get your brand out there in a way that doesn’t damage the planet. Use a company with knowledgeable customer service to do so.
You should try using reusable envelopes or recycled post-consumer content envelopes when running a direct mail campaign. EcoEnvelopes.com is a brand leading the reusable envelopes market.
11. Using energy efficient transportation
During your marketing-related travel, try going with a car that is energy efficient and able to use less gas.
12. Getting your products listed on GoodGuide.com and GreenSeal.org
These sites are great when it comes to putting your eco-friendly products in front of people who are environmentally conscious.
13. Providing customer incentives to take part in green behavior
If the customers provide evidence of green actions, you can give them something like a coupon. You can offer 30% off for customers who take part in the community clean-up event.
14. Encouraging green behavior in your business
You can offer discounts for those people who come with their own reusable shopping bags or coffee mugs. People will do it because there is something in it for them.
15. Using shredded scrap paper in shipping promotional products
When you are shipping breakable marketing materials (this can be things like promotional mugs), consider using scrap paper as packing materials – but make sure you have shredded the scrap papers before using them. SustainablePackaging.org is a great place to get even better ideas on packaging.
16. Printing in an environmentally-friendly way
Printing is bad for the environment, but if it is an absolute necessity for your business and marketing, then you should try having the printing done in such a way that it minimizes the impact it has on the environment. A good place to get started is GreenerPrinter.com.
17. Listing your site on green directories
While this is not a green action, it will help in achieving two things: (1) attracting green-conscious customers and (2) it can help with your SEO efforts when the directory is legitimate.