58 Ways to Save the Planet: For Companies

There are countless things that your company can do to be more green - and doing so shows your customers and employees that you care about the community and the environment. (And check with your accountant department - there may be tax benefits for your environmentally friendly choices!)

Use only organic fertilizers

Artificial fertlizers contain many chemicals that aren't good for you OR the environment, and they can contribute to the pollution of the water table. You'll see (and taste!) the difference in your fruits and veggies!

"Non-toxic pest management tools are those methods, products and techniques that do not put human health and the environment at risk. Simple changes in your environment can significantly reduce pest populations. Before reaching for a pesticide, monitor the pest population, make structural repairs, use proper sanitation inside and outside, and modify the pests' habitat. Any openings that pests are using to access the structure should be caulked, screened or repaired. Some outdoor pests are attracted to spilled greasy or sugary liquids, improperly stored garbage, untended pet foods or explosions of naturally-occurring food sources like aphids or scale infestations on nearby plants. Efforts to eliminate food sources may eliminate pest problems. "

"WHAT TO USE: Aeration of soil - black molasses - calcium products/talc/lime - caulk - corn gluten - dehumidifier - door strips/door sweeps - electrogun (electrocution) - fans - flyswatter - habitat modification - heat treatment - hot pepper wax - glue boards - liquid nitrogen (cold treatment) - living biological controls (parasitic wasps, ladybugs, praying mantis, nematodes, etc) - mow high with sharp blades - netting - overseed - prune - sanitation - seal holes - screens - sodium chloride - sticky tape - thatch removal - traps (flytraps, sticky traps, pheromone traps, jar traps, insect light trap, etc.) - vacuum - water drainage - water pipe maintenance - water spray - weed-hound. " (From Ecomall.Com)

Also check out the home brewed pest control recipes available on the Ecomall website.

Avoid products made from endangered trees Money Saver!

For a list of trees on the endangered list, visit the Restricted and Endangered Wood Species page.

Make it easy for employees to carpool

Have a sign up sheet or internal email list so that employees can easily figure out a carpool schedule that will work best for everyone.

Minimize non-biodegradable packaging Money Saver!

Avoid buying food or household products in plastic or styrofoam containers whenever possible. (They cannot be recycled and do not break down in the environment.)

Donate unused clothing and other items

Rather than throwing away unused clothing and items that are in good shape, consider donating them to your local church, Goodwill, or other charity. Many charities will even work with you to schedule a pick-up time.

Buy efficient fluorescent light bulbs Money Saver!

New compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent - and last about 10 times as long! You'll save an estimated 500 lbs of CO2 and $30 a year!

Install low-flow toilets Money Saver!

You'll use 1.6 gallons per flush compared to a standard toilet which used 3.5 gallons. For an investment of about $145-$165, you'll see big long-term savings on your water bill.

If you're not ready to take that step yet, put a few bricks in the tank of your toilet to reduce water used.

The average American household generates 75,000 gallons of waste water every year. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, much of what we consider as wastewater from sinks, showers, baths and dishwashers could safely be reused in toilets. Since as much as 45 percent of the water we use is flushed down the toilet, this could significantly reduce household water consumption.

Source: A primer on Sustainable Building, Rocky Mountain Institute

Cut your vampire power! Money Saver!

Vampire Power: Not Dracula, but the home electronics we leave on standby: TV, printer, DC re-chargers and converters… they cost you and the country almost $100 million worth of WASTED electricity each year.

Purchase recycled paper products

Check out the Conservatree page for information on buying Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP).

Organize a company roadside clean-up


Consider adopting a section of highway near your company - you'll get great PR out of it, and send a message to the community that you care about the neighborhood.

Make sure your eco-efforts aren't wasted

Verify with local waste management that recyclables are truly being recycled.

Sponsor a clothing drive

Ask your employees to bring in their old usable clothes, or financially sponsor another group's efforts. You'll be setting a great example for your employees and the community, and it may be a tax write-off for you!

Recycle/refill printer cartridges Money Saver!

If you use inkjet printers, buy replacement ink and refill them when they are empty. There are also several programs that will allow you to send in your empty ink and laserjet printer cartrdiges for recycling.

Also check out:

Add air-cleaning plants

Plants not only brighten up a room, they help keep the air clean! Shoot for at least one 4-5 ft plant per 100 square feet.

Add “green” investments to pension portfolio

Give your employees the option to support green companies and projects through their pension investments.

Offer to match your employees donations

Encourage your employees to give to good causes by setting up a donation matching program for environmental charities.

Make it easy for your employees to recycle

Provide on-site recycling bins for office paper, shredded paper, aluminum, bottles, etc.

Recycle at the office Money Saver!

Recycle office and computer paper, cardboard, etc. whenever possible. Use scrap paper for informal notes to yourself and others.

Install low-flow aerators to your faucets and shower heads

Aerators are inexpensive, easy to install and reduce the amount of water wasted. Low-flow shower heads can save an estimated 350 lbs of CO2 per year!

Create a walk/bike path

Your employees will feel better and be healthier for it!

Encourage healthy lifestyles

Offer incentives for employees who bike or walk to work.

Install energy efficient A/C and heating Money Saver!

Look for heating and cooling units and systems with a high Energy Star rating. You'll prevent wasted electricity and benefit from big decreases in your monthly energy bills.

Install air filters on your furnace

Keep the air in your building cleaner - you'd be surprised how our air quality affects our health. The cleaner the air, the healthier your employees will be!

Shop green! Buy shade-grown, organic coffee

Shade coffee provides habitat for birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife in tropical countries.

Be green when you clean

Purchase only eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and avoid/limit disposable cleaning products.

In the cafeteria, offer unbleached and unrefined sugars, flours and grains

Offer healthy food choices in the cafeteria

Be sure to offer choices rich with fruits and veggies, and include vegetarian/vegan selections. Healthier eating means healthier employees, a reduction in obesity and sick-days!

Print company advertisements on recycled paper & use soy ink

Sponsor a child in a developing country

Sponsor an endangered species

Make our planet your mission

Commit to a mission statement that involves protection of our natural resources.

Fund the future

Set aside corporate funding for environmental issues: preservation of natural habitats, reduction of fossil fuels, etc.

Create a prairie or native wetlands on-site

You'll be providing a place for wildlife to thrive and giving your employees a place to unwind during breaks.

Research alternative forms of energy

If you can’t do the research, fund it

Commit to changing current poor practices

Clean up toxins and other hazards, and make a commitment to never dump waste

Support projects that are ecologically sound

For example, deforestation vs. hydroponics

Research vendors environmental practices

Make sure your vendors are committed to environmentally healthy practices. If not, take your business elsewhere.

Don’t protect the almighty dollar more than the planet

Make sure your dedication to the health of the global ecosystem doesn't take a backseat to your bottom line.

Plan a community event

Coordinate an event at work, at your school or within your community that helps raise awareness about environmental issues such as recycling, waste reduction and conservation.

Caulk and weather-strip

Poor insulation leads to huge amounts of energy - and money - going out the window (and through the walls, etc.) Caulking and weather-stripping can save an estimated 650 lbs of CO2 per year!

Windows can account for as much as 25 percent of home heat loss. Sealing the windows properly can prevent about half that loss. The remaining loss is as a result of the direct flow of heat from the panes of conventional windows.

Source: Canadian Green Consumer Guide

Replace your windows with energy-saving models Money Saver!

New, energy efficient windows can save an estimated 1000 lbs of CO2 per year!

Insulate your walls Money Saver!

Insulating your walls and ceilings can save an estimated 2000 lbs of CO2 per year, and up to 25% of your monthly bills!

Don't overheat or overcool Money Saver!

You'll save an estimated 350 lbs of CO2 and $20 each year per 2 degrees!

Check the numbers on the bottom of plastic products

On the bottom of every plastic product, (including body lotion bottles, soda and water bottles, contact lenses, etc.), there is a number printed that corresponds to the kind of plastic used. If there is no number, the item isn't recyclable.

Look for the small triangle (or recycling logo) with the number inside.

These numbers are used by recycling centers to tell you what kinds of items they can accept. Avoid buying items without a number on the bottom, and write to the manufacturers explaining that you will not buy their product until they use recyclable containers.

Recycle everything you can! Money Saver!

You benefit either directly or when local taxes are kept lower by reduced disposal costs.

Install LED exit signs Money Saver!

They're longer lasting and more energy efficient than conventional exit signs. They cost about $70 to retrofit, and you can save up to $24 per year, per sign, not to mention the maintenance savings.

Consider laptops over desktops

Lap top computers for employees use up to 90% less energy than desktop machines.

Install showers for people who walk or bike to work

Encouraging your employees to be more active and reduce pollution!

Offer reimbursement for use of public transit

Replace old equipment with Energy Star certified models

While it may cost you a little more up-front, you'll long-term benefits in your energy bills.

Buy unbleached brown coffee filters

They are going to turn brown anyway, right?

Choose a computer maufacturer with a recycling policy

According to a recent study by the National Safety Council's Environmental Health Center, approximately 20.6 million personal computers became obsolete in the U.S. in 1998. Of that number, only 11 percent, or about 2.3 million units, were recycled.

Disposal of old computers could become one of the biggest solid waste issues in the coming years. While the outer case of the computer hard drive and monitor can oftentimes be used again, the inside of the computer, the part that becomes obsolete, contains hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury. The fear is that it will end up in landfills not designed to accept contaminated material.

For a list of manufacturers that offer a recycling program, such as Dell, Gateway and Micron, visit the Ecomall website.

Turn off your monitors Money Saver!

If your computers are on a network or need to be left on for remote access and can't be shut down at night, turn off the monitors.

Clean/replace your air filters

Check your air filters on your ventilation system every month. If you clean them regularly, you won't have to replace them often.

Avoid disposable straws if you can

While disposable straws can be massively useful to folks with certain disabilities, if you don't need them, skip the the straws. Or if you prefer to use them but still want to spare the extra trash, consider bringing your own bamboo or metal straws.

Buy locally grown food and locally made products when possible

Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor.

Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality - unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.

And local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.