When it comes to sustainability, green is definitely the new black. Today, business owners across the country are looking for ways to make their office more “green” and environmentally friendly. A greener workplace doesn’t just mean using less paper. It can also mean having a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier work environment, and a more productive workplace, all of which are great for your business’ bottom line. You may see “going green” as a chore, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. There are simple changes you can make that will help you create a greener, more sustainable office. Here are some tips:

Power down electronics

You can’t be in two places at once, even though it would be really helpful sometimes. When you’re done with your company meeting, remember to turn off the TV or computer and to turn off the lights before you go back into your office. Done for the day? Turn off your computer before you leave. If you have to leave it on for a server backup or cloud sync, switch the monitor off instead of just using a screensaver. Don’t forget to turn the air conditioning up too. Even turning it up a few degrees can lead to cost savings.

Set up a recycling area

Cutting paper out of your office completely isn’t always realistic for some businesses. If this is the case for your business, consider setting up a recycling bin in your office. That way you and your employees have a place to throw out their old papers, soda cans, and other recyclables. Most areas offer a recycling pick up service, but if you don’t have one in your area, work out a schedule with your team for recycling.
(Important note: make sure you remember to shred sensitive company documents rather than recycling them.)

Collaborate in the cloud

Collaboration used to mean sitting at a giant conference table with a bunch of papers in front of you trying to get a task done. Today, collaboration is becoming more and more digital. This doesn’t mean that people don’t need to interact anymore. It just means that we now have the ability to replace printed out papers with a digital version. The cloud makes it easy to collaborate on documents, regardless of whether you’re in the same office. Plus, you can pull up documents on a computer, edit them in real time, and then they’ll automatically save and update. The more you do online, the less you need paper copies. Try storing your files in the cloud rather than in file cabinets, and review documents on a computer instead of printing them out to make edits. Send emails when possible, and even try sending your clients their invoices digitally.

Add some green to your workspace

No, we’re not saying you have to go and paint your entire office green. Instead, try adding some plants to your desk and other areas of your office, such as the lobby. Plants help to brighten up your workspace, emit oxygen, and even reduce air pollution. If you have employees and clients that are sensitive to plants and pollen, you can even use a small air filter to help clear the air.

Use green materials

Many businesses are picking up on the “green” trend and now offer greener products that are made out of recycled materials. Look for products that are labeled with the words “recycled,” “sustainable,” “biodegradable,” or “green.” Some of the green products out there are recycled paper, biodegradable soap, pens made from recycled materials, biodegradable cleaners, refillable pens, and cloth towels. The best part is that these products can be found at places you already shop, so there’s no need to go to a special store. Also, look into recycling or refilling old ink cartridges instead of buying new ones.

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult. By making a few small changes around your office, you can make a big impact on the environment and on your company’s bottom line. Whether you’re reducing energy, buying more sustainable products, or reducing waste, your every day choices will make a big difference in the long run.