By Karleia Steiner

We all know that it is vitally important to do our share at protecting the limited resources of our planet. Whether individuals or businesses, we all have a role to play in saving the environment. The steps individuals can take – both small and large – to reduce their ecological footprint, or strain on the environment, have been endlessly documented. What businesses can do, however, is not often as clear.

What follows are 5 steps that one can take to improve the environmental friendliness of their business practices.

1. Recycling
One of the simplest things a business can do to “green” their practices is to recycle. Companies like General Recycling Industries Ltd can easily accommodate the recycling needs of businesses small and large. Not only does this provide a valuable resource as a reusable material, it also helps reduce the strain on the already burdened waste stream. It keeps valuable resources from taking up space in our landfills.

2. Paper Reduction
Going digital is a great way to reduce the most common office resource – paper. This allows businesses to use less paper, print less, and even keep their data more secure than it was in hardcopy form.

3. Responsible Energy Use
Many people are guilty of leaving office lights and computers on when they leave for the day or weekend. This is a useless waste of energy and it really does add up. Instituting a policy to remind people to shut off their computers, printers, and lights before leaving is and easy and effective means to green one’s business.

4. Take Your Business to Other Green Companies
No matter what the business is, they need supplies or services from other business. A business can “vote with their dollars” by only supporting businesses that also put the environment first.

5. Get Rid of the Junk (Mail)
Businesses get solicited just as much, if not more, than everyday consumers. This leads to hordes of junk mail that we often just mindlessly toss into the garbage or recycle bin. Writing to the distributors to remove a business’s address from direct mailing campaigns is a great way to help the planet and also keep down on the amount of junk one receives each day.

The practices listed above are by no means the only things one can do to increase the environmental friendliness of their business practices. There are tons of ways, both big and small, to reduce the impact a business has on the environment. These are, however, small, but effective steps that pretty much all businesses can take to reduce their ecological footprint and engage in greener practices.

Karleia Steiner is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys spending time with her daughters. You can follow Karleia on Google+.