Earth Day has been coming around every year on April 22 since 1970. This year, businesses all over the world have plans for honoring the magnificent planet we humans started shambling around on some 300,000 years ago. If you’re a business owner, what can you do to help protect the environment and our natural resources? GLBM has some suggestions, several of which apply to all of us, business owners or not.
Think eco-friendly the next time you buy an electronic device, especially if you’re considering the purchase of a desktop computer. As a rule, laptops and smaller electronic devices consume less energy than desktop computers. Not only that, but rechargeable batteries are a better choice than so-called disposable batteries, which cost money to recycle.
Using both sides of a piece of paper and then recycling it when you’re done cuts down on waste and helps reduce the need to fell another tree. The same is true of reusing or repurposing cardboard boxes. Unplug what’s not in use and turn off lights you don’t need. Consider your commute and whether public transportation, carpooling or even biking and walking are ways you can switch things up.
Giving away what you don’t use anymore is a good alternative to simply dumping it. Too often, things that could be donated or recycled just get pitched in the trash, where they create hazards to the environment. If you don’t think anyone will benefit from what you want to scrap, and it’s recyclable, try to get it to a recycling center. The MidMichigan Environmental Action Council sponsors Recycle Rama, scheduled this year for April 13. Find them online or call them at (517) 292-3078 for information.
This energy conservation initiative, originating with the Environmental Protection Agency, is a great source for anyone seeking reliable information about energy use. The Energy Star symbol is said to be recognized by 90 percent of American households. Look for it when shopping for new appliances, buying a new home or looking for ways to make your existing home more energy-efficient. If you’re an industrial or commercial business owner, consult the Energy Star Portfolio Manager for help in tracking and controlling energy consumption. You’ll be in good company since it’s a popular tool among Fortune 500 companies.
Looking to outfit your business or home or donate items you no longer need? Consider a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. When Habitat for Humanity builds houses for people in need, they strive to make the homes energy-efficient. Buying from or donating to Habitat for Humanity ReStores is one way to keep conservation efforts alive. You can also volunteer in one or make a
The U.S. Small Business Administration has commented on what it described as “a new focus on environmental responsibility.” It suggested “adding sustainability and green marketing to your business strategy that may enhance your brand image and secure your market.” Contact your local Small Business Administration office for help.
What others are doing: If you’re a business owner and the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) doesn’t ring a bell, you might want to become better acquainted. LBRA promotes sustainability through recycling of vacant buildings, protecting green space and performing environmental cleanups.
Karl Dorshimer, director of business development for Lansing Economic Area Partnership said, “LBRA is operated by the Lansing Economic Development Corp., which offers financial and tax incentives to businesses for cleaning up and redeveloping contaminated and obsolete sites within the city of Lansing.”
Some ways LBRA acts to protect the environment include eliminating vacant and blighted properties, optimizing existing infrastructure, creating compact communities using infill development and saving historic structures. Other areas of interest to LBRA are public health and welfare, creating jobs as a means of developing a tax base to pay for public services, and attracting new residents and talent to urban areas.
This year, get inspired by groups like LBRA. Ask yourself what you can do in your house, your business or your community to make Mother Earth healthier. If she could talk, she’d say thanks; but since she can’t, she’ll speak volumes by making a lusher, greener and even more amazing home for everyone.