Earth Day 2012: 5 Ideas to Help the Environment

The 42nd annual earth day is April 22, 2012. More than one billion people around the planet will participate and take action to improve the environment on the planet. How can you help? Here are a few ideas.

Walk or Cycle to Work

Walking To WorkThe United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least half of ozone pollutants come from motorized vehicles. Do your part on Earth Day and walk or ride your bike to work. You’ll enjoy the health benefits, save money on gas and help keep the air clean. Maybe you’ll like it so much that you’ll decide to make walking or biking your daily mode of transportation. If you don’t live close enough to work to walk or bike, try public transportation. Most cities allow you to either carry your bike on buses or they have a built on rack to make it easy to take it with you.

Help Your Customers Recycle

RecycleRecycling isn’t that hard to do – it’s just easy to forget. Can you help customers remember to recycle the products you sell? Some stores have a battery recycling container on site; others offer ink cartridge refills. If you sell clothing, you might offer a discount to customers who bring in used clothing that can be donated to a local shelter or thrift store.

You can recycle, too. Use rechargeable batteries or recycle disposables. Refill printer ink cartridges. Sell used office equipment or other business equipment rather than sending it to the landfill.

Turn Off the Lights and Adjust the Thermostat

Turn off the light You don’t need to keep your shop icy cold in the spring. Turn the thermostat up a few degrees to save money and energy. Turn off lights in areas that are not in use, and consider replacing regular bulbs with compact fluorescent of LED bulbs. The EPA estimates that Energy Star qualified bulbs save about $6 per year in energy costs and use 75% less energy. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to minimize heating and cooling after business hours.

Encourage Shoppers to Use Reusable Bags

Reusable Bags If you don’t already sell reusable shopping bags, consider doing so. You can sell bags for around $1. As a bonus, you can have your logo imprinted on each bag. They make great ongoing advertisement for your business and if when successful, you will save money on purchasing disposable bags. You can even offer a small discount to shoppers who bring in your reusable bags. This creates good environmental stewardship and increases repeat buyers.

Save Water and Trees

Courtesy: Walter J. Pilsak

Hopefully you shower before work. On Earth Day, make it a little shorter shower and save a few drops of clean water. For longer-term savings, install a water-saving shower head.
Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

Do you have a leaky faucet in your public restroom? Fix it.

Limit bottled water consumption – most tap water is perfectly safe for consumption, and in taste tests many people can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that Americans buy more than 28 million single-serve water bottles every year.

Take note of your paper usage. Encourage employees to be cognizant of the amount of paper they print. Use the back of mis-prints for scratch paper. Recycle.

Install a hand dryer in the restroom instead of using paper towels.