If you’re anything like me, then you’re running an online business from home. You’re also a little bit of an eco geek. You might have some help from freelancers or even employees, but they work remotely. So, it’s just you, your laptop and a hot cup of coffee.
So if you’d still like to do everything possible to make your business as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, then this article is for you.
Below are 5 areas of your online business to implement some environmentally friendly business practices into. These are all specific but not exclusive to those of us working from home.
Our top 5 environmentally friendly business practices
1. Dispose of old electronics responsibly
Electronic waste or e-waste is a massive problem. The complicated nature of electronic devices and the sheer number of different materials in them mean that they do serious harm. They pollute ecosystems, drinking water and cause serious health problems for those who make/package them.
We all know that certain tech is built to break down. So if your electronic device is no longer working and you need a solution, here are a few:
- Try to fix it: IFIXIT has a great catalogue of guides for repairing electronics. Their ethos is to reduce electronic waste by helping the world to repair what they already have.
- Sell it: There are countless websites which will buy your broken device from you. Usually, these sites will take the phone and fix it, then re-sell it. Or they will take it apart and use it for spare parts. A Google search should bring up sites for your country.
- Recycle it: Recycling should be your last option. Just like selling, there are many websites that will take your old phone from you and recycle it – they may even pay you for it. However, not all parts of your device will be able to be recycled and the rest will go into landfill.
If your electronic device is actually still working but not at peak performance (understandable if you need it for work), then attempt to sell it or donate it to someone first. If you can find a person who will get good use out of the tech, then that’s always better than recycling it.
2. Buy refurbished tech
If you’re in need of a new piece of tech for your business, it would be worth considering buying a refurbished model.
Here at Limit Breaker, every computer we own (1 laptop & 1 desktop) is refurbished and have been going strong for years. Most of the time refurbished models have only been lightly used and fixed with a warranty applied – they’re basically new.
By buying a refurbished piece of tech, you’re not losing anything. You can still get up-to-date models and better yet, they’re cheaper too!
To find a refurbished model, simply stick ‘refurbished’ in front of it when you search on Google or any online marketplace. Make sure the tech has a warranty and guarantee, this way you’re covered if it’s not quite up to scratch.
3. Switch your website to green hosting
Website hosting can be very energy-intensive. Data centres have thousands of high-powered computers constantly running. All of these computers need to be kept cool – that’s a lot of power!
Some hosting companies offset the environmental impact of their business by investing in some form of carbon offsetting scheme. Usually, this takes the form of pumping equal amounts of renewable energy into the grid as they take out via their computers.
For others, they make their data centres as efficient as possible by obtaining electricity from renewable resources. Either that or by using water in their cooling systems.
Examples of green hosting providers are:
Switching hosting is not an easy task and make take some forward planning. So if you’re interested, here’s a resource by Web Hosting Secrets which could help: webhostingsecretrevealed.net/switching-web-host
4. Turn off computers and chargers at the plug when finished
When running an online business, it’s inevitable that you’ll use energy all day long. It’s part of your job to be on some kind of device which likely requires either being plugged in all day or charged for part of it.
When it comes to the times we’re not using these devices, making sure they’re off could not only make a big difference to your home energy usage but your wallet too.
Here are some things to remember:
- When a device is finished charging, unplug it and turn the power socket off at the wall
- Alternatively, buy a timed plug socket like Belkin to save energy
- Make sure to turn off your wireless keyboard and mouse and buy rechargeable batteries to use when the batteries run out
5. Offset your carbon footprint
Sometimes our business practices and processes can’t be changed due to our circumstances or lack of resources. So, businesses who find themselves in this situation can easily offset their carbon footprint by signing up to a carbon offsetting company.
Many of these companies will do things like plant trees, invest in renewable energy or other projects that benefit the planet rather than take from it.
One such company (that we use here at Limit Breaker), is Offset Earth. When you sign up to Offset Earth, they use a calculator to determine how many employees you have and how many resources you use and therefore, how much carbon you need to offset.
Once calculated, they offer you a monthly payment which they will use to plant trees and invest in projects. It’s a brilliant system that’s transparent and fun to use.
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So there we have it, 5 environmentally friendly business practices you can start implementing in your online business. If you’re eco geeks like us, then you’ll probably already have some of these techniques implemented into your daily life.
The important thing to take away is that nobody is perfect, but if we all begin to make more conscious choices when it comes to our businesses, the planet and our wallets will be better off.
Do you do any of the above already? Have any other eco business practices to add? Leave us a comment and let’s share.