Though we think Earth Day should be every day, we also think Earth Day is a great way to recharge our motivation in approaching the way we live and work in a more sustainable and eco-conscious way. Think of it as a Green New Year’s Resolution! Since today is Earth Day, here are some green tips for businesses and ideas for ways we can all be more kind to this place we all call home.
Why You Should Care About Being Green
One of the main drivers of Wild Daughters is to encourage philanthropy from businesses and give them ideas, resources, and an opportunity to give back in a way that is meaningful and impactful. We hope you care about Mother Earth, but we know you care about the profitability of your business and, as we learned, being green will save in the long run. Back in February, Wild Daughters attended the Sustainable Cleveland Quarterly Meeting at the Great Lakes Brewing Company’s where we heard updates from the Vital Neighborhoods Working Group on their progress. The theme of the meeting was “Neighborhoods” and in keeping with Sustainable Cleveland theme for this year of Zero Waste, we were presented with lots of ideas on how individuals and businesses can not only help the environment and their community, but also their bottom line.
Not only were the presenters offering up smart tips and solutions for reaching Zero Waste, but we got to meet some other like-minded folks that were in attendance who were just as passionate. At our table alone, we got to meet an employee of Sherwin-Williams who was attending the meeting to get ideas to bring back to his workplace. Another inspiring story we heard was from a guy, we just happened to be sitting next to, who owned and operated an auto shop on the East Side.
He explained that green initiatives he had put in place at his business had cut his business’ waste output significantly, as well as boosted his bottom line through recycling and increased work efficiency.
No longer was he paying weekly to haul away full dumpsters of trash. His implementation of sustainable practices resulted in having to only haul away a dumpster once a month, with a third of the contents.
Green Tips For Your Business
Sustainable Cleveland has some great ideas on bringing green practices to your business or workplace. Some of our favorites are things you can implement quickly and easily:
- Focus on operational/behavior changes first, as they are often no cost or low cost options. For example, turn down the thermostat a few degrees in the winter or lower the AC and enjoy the warm weather we only get for a few months each year. Close off unused rooms, turn off lights, unplug electronics, etc.
- Offer Community Support Agriculture (CSA) for your employees by requesting your office as a drop off. This is an opportunity for your employees to easily support local farmers who cultivate the earth, as well as the culture of our region
- Conduct a waste audit. Figure out what you really throw away then figure out what waste you can reduce or recycle
- Sponsor a beach cleanup. The Alliance for the Great Lakes or Drink Local Drink Tap can help direct you to a beach cleanup near you
- Quit the one-time-use water bottles. Encourage employees to use refillable water bottles. You can even brand them with your logo for a bit of company pride around the water cooler
- Start a green team in your organization and educate employees on the resource and cost-savings associated with sustainable practices
Green Idea In Practice
One of my previous workplaces had created a small philanthropic initiative called “10 to Change” where our employer gave each employee, as well as a select group of clients, a $10 bill with the goal of making a difference (big or small) in the world. The idea I came up with was simple: buy $10 worth of vegetable seeds, then donate the resulting produce to a local food bank. With $10 and a little patience, our little family garden was able to donate 8lbs of organic salad greens. You can buy a five-ounce Organic Mixed Baby Green prepackaged salad mix for $5 in the store. Our eight-pound donation would be equivalent to roughly 26 containers of salad mix which would run about $128 retail and could feed roughly 16 individuals each a weeks worth of green veggies. It’s a small contribution, but valuable on many different levels. Not only was it supplying food to people in need, but food that is healthy, organic, and locally grown in a sustainable way. It nourished people, but also brought awareness to locally sourced food and the benefits it has on the environment and the community.
The great thing about Earth Day is that it’s not exclusive to any one group of people, it’s for everyone that inhabits this planet. Whatever small moves you can make toward making it a better place for everyone, it’s well-worth the well-being of your business and your customers.