You are constantly reminded of the green habits you can practice at home, from installing solar panels to composting kitchen scraps, but the workplace is often overlooked. Being green doesn’t automatically mean that more expenses are imminent. There are several simple and cost-effective ways to protect the environment while saving money at the same time.

Tip 1: Recycle

This relatively old-fashioned tip applies to much more than just paper. Naturally, you should have recycling baskets for paper and aluminum products, but now you should include printer cartridges and e-waste. Copiers and fax machines use many ink cartridges during one year alone, depending on your business. Recycle the cartridges and get money back in the process. The money is often invested back into new cartridge purchases to save money on inevitable printing needs.

Five Ways Your Business Can Save Money While Being Green

E-waste, from company cell phones to old computer mice, can be recycled to reduce mercury exposure in local landfills. Many regions actually ban e-waste in regular trash. You can often turn in e-waste for money, allowing you to make some funds off of recycled items.

Tip 2: Reusable Shipping And Packaging Materials

Styrofoam peanuts, and other packaging materials, are harmful to the environment and fill up landfills quickly. Try using crumpled newspaper than can be recycled after use. There are even biodegradable packing peanuts that break down rapidly after disposal. These materials are not much more expensive than Styrofoam, but you save the environment in the process.

Alternatively, try used Gaylord boxes for your shipping needs. Made of durable polypropylene, you can use them repeatedly before they need replacement. After the initial purchase, Gaylord boxes pay for themselves over time. Another boxing strategy is reusing corrugated boxes. Peel off all labels and reuse cardboard boxes until they are not sturdy anymore. You save money and reduce cardboard waste in local landfills.

Tip 3: Change Light Bulbs

When you have a bulb go out in the office, replace it with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. This bulb type saves you money because it does not require as much electricity as other bulbs. As a result, your electrical bill drops, allowing the local electrical company to use less fossil fuels to generate the energy in the first place. Energy use is always connected to the Earth.

Tip 4: Use Plastic Or Metal Pallets

Pallets are typically made of wood. Although they are widespread in the business industry, wood pallets require trees for construction. Deforestation is extremely harmful to the environment, and the wood pallets tend to break over time. Alternatively, use plastic or metal pallets. These models are more expensive to purchase initially, but they last longer and save you money in the long-term.

Tip 5: Email It

The days of paper memos strewn across desks are over. Use email and instant messaging to communicate information within an office. When you use less paper, trees are not chopped down as the main ingredient supply. You save money because excessive reams of paper are not required. Only print on paper if it is truly necessary. In those cases, try to purchase recycled paper to keep your carbon footprint small.

Staying green in the workplace requires diligent attention to everyday habits. Pay attention to your purchases and select recycled items, when available. Reducing the impact on the environment helps everyone live a better life.