(adapted from an article by Jamie Herzlich for Newsday, Inc.)

Going green is a hot topic among businesses these days. In fact, many companies, from Wal-Mart to Hewlitt-Packard, have changed the way they do business in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

The best shipping franchise businesses in our industry will make the same efforts. But what can a small business with limited dollars do to help to make a difference?

Plenty, say experts. It just takes a strong committment to the cause.

"There are so many things small companies can do that cost little or nothing that will not only save them money, but help improve employee morale," says Susan Seliger, editor-in-chief of Manhattan-based eco-media Web site RiverWired.com. "You just have to want to do it."

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Take small steps --First, don't bite off more than you can chew. Set realistics goals and start small, experts say. This way you won't fee like it's such a drain on your resources. You'd be surprised how many simple ways you can give back, Seliger says.
  • Start with your own store--For example, when your cleaning supplies run out, start replacing them with green, nontoxic, organic products, she suggests. Clorox has a new Green Works line of cleaning products which are made of biodegradable active ingredients. Also, replace hand and liquid soaps in your washroom with environmentally friendly alternatives like Method or Burt's Bees.
  • Be aware of abrasive, harsh chemicals you might want to use--"Stay away from products that will damage the environment," notes Gary Anzalone, chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council and a principal at Precision Signs in Amityville. This includes bleach and ammonia-based products, like many all-purpose cleaners.
     

So what can the best shipping franchise businesses do in their stores?

  • Gather used packaging materials for recycling--Publicize the acceptance of foam packaging peanuts and bubble wrap.
  • Use recycled materials instead of purchasing new--There are now lines of copy paper that are made from 100% recyclable content. Or, use the packaging peanuts that you accepted from a recycling donor.
  • Look at your energy consumption--Today's best shipping franchise businesses will:
    • install motion detecting switches in seldom-used back room and washrooms.
    • And they'll replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs, using up to 75% less energy.
    • Will change the filter on the A/C unit regularly. Dirty filters make the system work harder and uses more energy.
    • Has customer sign a "proof" or sample of large print jobs to avoid wasting paper and energy in misprints.
       

These are just some of the efforts that best franchise businesses will do to help the environment by using better and less resources.

If we multiply the efforts of each, then we'll all benefit.

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