When you are a small business owner, you have to juggle multiple responsibilities at once. Underlying everything is your responsibility to keep your business profitable and growing financially year after year. You also have a responsibility to ensure that you are doing the best possible job for your clients, and that you provide a work environment that is conducive to productivity for your employees. In the 21st century, you also have a responsibility to ensure that your business operates in a green way. As well as the benefits of helping the natural world, ensuring that your business is green can also be a selling point that attracts talent and clients to work with you.
At the very centre of green business is the process of recycling. After all, why throw something away when it can be used again and resources can be saved? And yes, you might well have a paper shredder in the office, but there are so many other things that your business can recycle. Here are 3 items that you might not have thought of recycling but are, indeed, recyclable.
While you should try to print out documents as little as possible to optimise your green credentials, when you do reach the end of an ink cartridge, make sure that you recycle it. There are actually two stages of the recycling process with ink cartridges. Once the cartridge is empty and inkless, you might actually be able to take it to the manufacturer to have it refilled so that it can be used again. You won't be able to do this indefinitely, so after a few uses you can then donate the cartridge so that the plastic can be reused.
When you consider that remanufacturing plastic requires 80% less energy than creating new plastic, this recycling activity is more than worthwhile. Ink cartridges also contain valuable scrap metals such as copper, aluminium, and steel – all of which can be recycled.
In recent years, a trend has emerged for businesses to adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) networks. This essentially means that because of advances in mobile technology, many employees now encourage employees to use their own personal mobile and tablet devices as work devices that can hook into a work network. Because of this shift, some companies are finding that the business phones they once had are now completely redundant. But instead of throwing these mobile phones away, it is possible to recycle them.
The reasons for recycling old mobile phones are twofold. First of all, mobile phone batteries can contain toxic chemicals that are actually harmful for the environment if they sit on a landfill. Secondly, there are many valuable parts of mobile phones that can be recycled. There are certain companies that specialise in recycling mobile phones. Deliver your old mobile phones to one of these companies and they will be able to take the phones apart so they can be used to create new phones and other objects.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
It is likely that the lights are turned on in your office all day long so that your employees can see what they are doing and work productively. This means that your light bulbs will run out of life quicker than bulbs in the home, for example. If these are then put on a rubbish dump, mercury can be released into the atmosphere, which is harmful for the environment. By recycling these light bulbs instead, you can also make sure that the scrap glass and scrap metals that are used to make the bulbs can be used again.