Smart business means keeping your costs down. Now you can save the environment and your bottom line by operating a green business. A green business has sustainable business practices and conservation policies that change the way they do business and help the environment.

There are 5 simple things that every small business owner can do to make their business green:

1. Reduce Employee Transportation and Travel

Save money and make an environmental impact by changing how your business handles transportation and travel. You can encourage employees to carpool, hold web conferences rather than travel long distances and look for fuel efficient transportation, if you need to buy vehicles for your business. Learn more about rebates for eco-friendly vehicles through the ecoENERGY for Fleets program.

2. Conserve Energy

Wasting energy (lighting, heating, or equipment) is one way small businesses lose money. Try to lower your energy consumption by up to 75% by turning off lights and equipment when not in use and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs. You can also minimize heating/cooling loss with windows and doors that have been properly weather-stripped. Contact Hydro One to learn more about savings through the Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program (link no longer available).

3. Reduce Waste

Reducing the waste your business creates is the simplest thing you can do to lower your bottom line and help the environment. Remind employees to print only when necessary and encourage digital communication formats like email or instant messenger rather than printing out memos.

4. Recycle

You probably recycle at home, but recycling is just as important at your place of business. Recycle used ink and toner cartridges (not just your paper), and before buying new office furniture or equipment, see if the existing piece can be refurbished - it's less expensive than buying new and it's better for the environment!

5. Buy 'Green' Office Supplies

Make the decision to buy eco-friendly office supplies (recycled paper or products made from post-consumer content). You can also choose suppliers who take back packaging for reuse, and buy Energy Star products when selecting new equipment.

For more information about making your business green, visit the Resources for Business section of the Ministry of the Environment or see the Resources for greening your business section of Canada Business.