On the heels of Earth Day 2020, now is the perfect time to contemplate green business initiatives. But contrary to what many business owners might think, “greening” your business doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are 5 simple and affordable things you can do to run an eco-friendly business that will add green to the environment AND your bottom line!

There are very good reasons why more and more companies are pursuing sustainable business practices — not only does a greener workplace make a positive impact on the environment, but consumers are very responsive to companies that make the effort. According to Nielsen, sustainably-minded customers have grown by nearly 20% since 2014!

But contrary to what many business owners might think, “greening” your business doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are 5 simple and affordable things you can do to run an eco-friendly business that will add green to the environment AND your bottom line:

Switch to post-consumer waste products

Whenever possible, look for products and tools that have been manufactured using mostly recycled materials, and pay special attention to any products using post-consumer waster (PCW), as those greatly reduce waste in supply chains. Remember — small product changes can make a huge difference here. Switching your regular tissues to Kleenex® Naturals Face Tissues made of 20% post-consumer recycled fibers, or replacing your current paint trays with Lancaster’s Enviro-Tray® made of 100% recycled plastic, or ensuring your office’s tape supply consists of 3M’s Scotch® Magic™ Tapes, which are made from 65% recycled or plant-based materials, are all less expensive ways that allow you to be more mindful of waste. PCW can even be found in apparel and hand protection! Watson’s Stealth Hero and Karma polyester knit work gloves are made from 25% post-consumer plastic bottles. These gloves (which are coming soon to Vallen.ca), use Watson’s WasteNot™ Yarn, which is made from 96% recycled polyethylene terephthalate — the main component of most plastic bottles.

Use biodegradable cleaners

Using biodegradable cleaning products in your workplace is a real win-win: not only are you reducing the introduction of harsh toxins to the environment, but you’re also reducing yours and your employees’ exposure to harmful chemicals. Walter’s Air Force AF-Clean™ degreasers not only produce residue-free cleaning, but they’re biodegradable, reducing the chemical waste stream and lowering its environmental impact. Similarly, Clorox Greenworks® products are made with plant-based, biodegradable ingredients, and are certified non-toxic, containing no phosphorous, bleach, harsh chemicals, or toxic fumes.

If you have to go disposable, go biodegradable

Generally, the gold standard of waste reduction in businesses is employing as many reusable items as possible. However, in some cases for hygiene or safety, disposable products are necessary, so whenever possible, look for ones that are biodegradable. Watson’s Green Monkey™ nitrile disposable gloves, for example, are landfill disposable, reducing the number of years nitrile gloves take to break down from 200 to 8!

Find longer-lasting product solutions

The logic here is pretty straightforward — the longer your tools last, the less you’ll have to replace them, resulting in less waste. It’s all about finding manufacturers using clean technologies to produce more products that are resistant to regular wear-and-tear. One example is 3M™ Floor Pads — they not only last longer than competitive products, but are able to strip floors with 1 pad compared to 4x as many competitive pads, leading to fewer floor pads in landfills. Another example is Milwaukee’s M18™ REDLITHIUM™ HIGH OUTPUT™ Battery, which offers more power and run-time for many of Milwaukee’s power tools.

Join recycling programs

Aside from your local recycling system (which you’re hopefully already participating in!) some manufacturers offer their own product recycling programs to reduce their environmental impact at every stage of their products’ lifecycles. Some programs, like Right-Cycle by Kimberly-Clark Professional* have specialized receptacles installed right in your workplace where disposable apparel items can be stored and shipped to Kimberly-Clark’s recycling centres. These items will then be broken down into plastic pellets or nitrile powder, which can be used to make eco-responsible goods. Other companies, like 3M and Milwaukee, have teamed up with TerraCycle, a company that aims to help businesses “recycle everything”, to create joint recycling programs for everything from sponges to batteries.

With just a few affordable changes, you can begin shifting your company towards a sustainable future. And by attracting a new contingent of eco-conscious customers, going green can get you more green — without spending too much of it.