Do you remember the “3 Rs” song taught to us as youngsters back during the time when Al Gore first tried to warn us about global warming? It went like this, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and sparked a global effort to keep our landfills empty, conserve energy, reduce pollution in the atmosphere and decrease our digital footprint. Seems like old Al knew exactly what he was talking about…even if it wasn’t on the political agenda at the time.
Today everyone is “Going Green” from big corporate companies run by CEOs to home-based businesses run by today’s rapidly growing number of entrepreneurs.
Home-based businesses have a “Green” edge over big corporate companies because work is performed from home and requires no transportation. No transportation converts to reduced fuel consumption and eliminates pollution generated by various means of transportation.
On a larger scale, most home-based businesses are not looking for ways to create new energy or the next electric car. They are leaving this up to the larger corporations and focusing on other ways to “Go Green” and continue their efforts to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
1. MAKE USE OF EVERY INCH OF YOUR PAPER
Don’t toss bad copies or old copies you no longer need. Instead use the blank side for scratch paper, take phone messages, jot down reminders, or create lists. Think of the paper as a one-sided notepad.
2. DONATE OLD MANUALS AND HOW-TO-GUIDES
Instead of letting old manuals and how-to-guides from your beginning days as an entrepreneur continue to clutter your office, why not give them away? Contact local workforce development groups, Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, charities, or libraries about donating any manuals and guides you no longer need.
3. RECYCLE OLD OR OUTDATED COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
Don’t dump your old or outdated computers and electronics in the landfill. Instead take them to an electronics waste recycling center in your local area. Sometimes referred to as “e-Cycling Centers”, these facilities will accept any computer or consumer electronic waste that runs on electricity or batteries, working or not. Virtually 100% of all items are recycled and converted into new products so nothing goes to the landfill. Visit Earth911  to find an e-cycling center near you.
4. USE ECO-FRIENDLY AND 100% RECYCLED OFFICE PRODUCTS
Use eco-friendly and 100% recycled office products like paper, envelopes, packaging material, office furniture, the list goes on and on. Check out the “Buy Green Guide ” from Office Depot/Office Max or contact your preferred office supply vendor for a list of their green products.
5. MAKE USE OF NATURAL SUNLIGHT
Use natural sunlight by placing your desk near a window. Then TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!
6. REPLACE YOUR LIGHT BULBS WITH ENERGY-EFFICIENT FLORESCENT LIGHT BULBS
Energy-efficient florescent light bulbs save energy and they last a lot longer than regular light bulbs. Be sure to check your local regulations about proper disposal of light bulbs.
7. TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER, PRINTER AND MONITOR
Save energy by turning off your computer, printer and monitor when they are not in use, including any power strips. Also set your computer to energy-saving mode.
8. DOWNSIZE FROM A DESKTOP COMPUTER TO A LAPTOP
Downsize from a desktop computer to a laptop without giving up your large screen monitor. Most new laptops connect directly to LCD monitors.
9. GO PAPERLESS
Send faxes and emails right from your computer. Also get into the habit of scanning your office documents and shredding the paper copy. And to prevent loss of data should your computer crash, use a secure online backup service.
10. SUPPORT VENDORS WHO HAVE GREEN POLICIES IN PLACE
Purchase from vendors who already have green policies in place.
11. ADD A PLANT TO YOUR OFFICE SPACE
Keep your air clean and fresh by adding some green to your office space with a plant. Here’s a list of 15 houseplants  determined by NASA to be effective in improving indoor air quality.
About the Author:
Katrina Chesney is Founder & President of Portable Hands , a Virtual Assistance firm that provides leverage for small businesses.