Growth April 6, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,611 Reads share

9 Ways to Go Green in Your Retail Business

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It’s one of the last things you might think about in your business – how to go green.

#1. Instill a Carpool Program

Going green starts before people get to your office. To encourage your team to adopt an environmentally friendly mindset, instill a carpool program. Ask people to drive together to work. Or, if that’s not something they’re interested in, encourage your team to bike to work.

To reward your team for making this extra effort to go green, you can hold special lunch days to everyone who carpools, bikes or takes public transit, or offer other prizes. The goal is to get your team excited about going green so they continue smarter environmental practices while at your business.

#2. Change Up Your Cleaning Routine

One area of your business that you might not think about in terms of being environmentally friendly is your cleaning routine. If you’re like many retailers, you outsource this to a cleaning crew. Or, as the boss, you add this to your employees to-do lists. In either case, you could be doing something to make the process greener.

If you hire a cleaning company, ask about green options. There are many companies focused specifically on providing green cleanings for your office. If your employees are in charge of the cleaning, ask them to use biodegradable cleaning products.

There’s a purpose to this beyond helping the environment. When you infuse your office with all-natural substances, you’re more likely to reduce your, your employees and your customer’s exposure to harsh toxins and chemicals.

#3. Add Greenery

One of the most literal ways you can “go green” is to add greenery to your office. Not only does the additional foliage give a natural, modern look to your space, but it also helps you clean up the air in the building. Indoor plants help clean up any pollution in your store. Everyone can take a deep breath knowing your retail store has the cleanest, freshest air around.

#4. Whenever Possible, Use Apps

Still stuck printing out sheet after sheet of paper? Not only is this expensive (ink adds up quickly!) but it’s also the less environmentally friendly way of doing business.

Technology today hasn’t just made things easier to accomplish. It’s changed the need for paper trails and physical resources to get jobs done.

Take staff scheduling for example.

In the past, retailers would print out hard copies of the work schedule to send home with employees and hang up at the office. Every week or month, the print out would appear and that’s how people found out which shift they needed to work. Stacks and stacks of paper were used to track such a basic business function.

Today, more retailers are leaning toward online employe scheduling apps to schedule shifts and manager time-off requests. This has cleaned up the process both environmentally and psychologically. It’s a greener way of letting employees know when they need to work and managing change requests.

#5. Flip the Switch on Your Lightbulbs

Most retail stores are bright and welcoming. This is great, except it can be a drain on the amount of energy you use. There are a few ways you can minimize how much electricity is being consumed in your office, just by flipping the switch on your light bulbs.

  • Opt for energy efficient lightbulbs and fixtures.
  • Make it a policy to always turn off the lights whenever you’re not in the room for longer than 15 minutes.
  • Add timers or motion detectors to certain areas of your store so the lights only come on when needed.

This tip won’t just minimize your carbon footprint. It’ll also help save your business money. By changing out the lightbulbs in your office alone, you can cut your electric bill by as much as two-thirds.

#6. Be Smart About Computer Usage

Computers are a huge electricity drain. Still, they’re important for doing your job. To help cut back on how much energy your store’s computers are using, start the habit of turning off the power strip to the computers every night when you close.

While you’re at work, you can adjust your options to have the computer go to sleep faster when it’s not in use. This is the only way to save on energy. If your computer turns over to a screensaver while it’s “sleeping,” you’re not saving electricity. Make sure it powers as far down as possible without interrupting your workflow when you need to get back on your computer again.

#7. Start a Recycling Program

Although you’re likely trying to reduce paper waste, chances are you’ll still have quite a bit of paper floating around the store. You might also have cans from the soda machine or cardboard boxes from your inventory shipments. All of these items should be recycled.

Many local recycling companies have programs to help businesses like yours get started with a smarter program for managing waste. Talk to them to help get your new recycling program off the ground.

You can also make your recycle bins accessible to the public. This way, shoppers can go green too.

#8. Manage the Snack Room

Do you provide plates, cutlery or snacks for your employees? If so, you have another room where you can make easy, yet significant changes to go green.

If your employees regularly use paper plates and plastic utensils to eat lunch in the break room, switch them out for reusable ones. This will immediately reduce waste and it will make it a little nicer for your team.

If you provide drinks and snacks, try to opt for environmentally friendly treats. For example, Fair Trade coffees and teas or organic snacks are a better option.

#9. Watch Your Water

Cutting back the amount of water you use is another great way to help the environment and help your store’s bank account.

  • Watch your faucets to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
  • If you have landscaping, install an irrigation system.
  • Use toilets with options for low or high volume flushing.

Doing even one of these will minimize how much water your business uses and reduce waste.

Getting Started

Ready to go green? We’d love to hear about the changes you’ve made to your retail store. Let us know in the comments below.

Images: ” Go Green Concept with text and small tree on artificial grass  /Shutterstock.com

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Jon Forknell

Jon Forknell

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