By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you looking for ways to save money, improve your small business’s image and help the planet, too? Then it’s time to “go green.” No matter what type of business you run, there are plenty of ways to make it more environmentally friendly without blowing your budget.

  1. Be environmentally conscious. Face it, a paperless office isn’t realistic for the average small business owner. (I know, I go through at least one notebook a week.) But our dependence on paper often makes us feel guilty about not being environmentally friendly. No worries, you can still do your part to preserve trees. When you’re purchasing paper, looking for paper products made from recycled materials, such as Sustainable Earth by Staples™ Copy Paper, the Sustainable Earth by StaplesTM Notebook and Sustainable Earth by StaplesTM Envelopes. 
  2. Be paper-wise. Even if you’re buying eco-conscious paper like Sustainable Earth by Staples™ Copy Paper, you could still be contributing to landfills if you aren’t conscientious about your use of paper. Make it a company-wide policy to print judiciously. When you do need to print, shrink the type on documents so you use less paper (but make sure it’s readable), and adjust your printer settings so you print on both sides of the paper. 
  3. Make it easy to recycle. Inevitably, some paper has to get discarded. Set up recycling bins throughout your business to collect discarded paper for recycling. Placing bins near your copiers, printers and file cabinets is a good start. Ideally, put bins in each office or cubical area as well, so that tossing paper in the recycling bins instead of their trashcans requires no extra effort from your staff. If your location doesn’t have regular recycling pickup, see if an employee with a truck or van is interested in collecting the recyclables on a regular basis and taking it in to a recycling center. Let him or her keep the profits. (This worked great at one company I worked for.) 
  4. Store your stuff sustainably. If you’re using recycled paper to print things out, it only makes sense to store those documents in an environmentally-friendly fashion. Look for eco-conscious office file cabinets or, even better, buy gently used ones to give someone else’s old furnishings a second lease on life. Then fill them with eco-conscious Sustainable Earth by StaplesTM 3-Tab File Folders and 5-Tab Hanging File Folders. Staples
  5. Do your homework. Set a green purchasing policy for your office—and not just for paper. You’d be surprised to find out the wide range of eco-conscious options that exist for just about everything a small business needs. And you don’t need to shop around. You can find what you’re looking for at Staples. For example, the Sustainable Earth by StaplesTM Calculator case and buttons, and the body of the Sustainable Earth by StaplesTM Stapler, are made from 100% recycled ink and toner cartridges, helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Before you place your next office supply order, do some digging and look for products that are made with renewable resources, made from recycled materials, and/or are third-party certified as environmentally friendly. 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.


This is a paid post in conjunction with Staples.