The Eco-Friendly One Person Business

This post is inspired by the upcoming panel discussion How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs sponsored by Uncommon Goods and scheduled for February 5th. The panel will discuss means of making your designs and business practices more eco-friendly and how doing so might make your business more competitive. For those of you who can't make this free event or want to think about how to implement some greener practices in your business right now, here are some suggestions:

City Cats by Deborah Julian on recycled card stock

1. Paper 

This is always the first one that comes to mind and here is how you can become a greener paper consumer: 

  • Use the cloud, e.g. Google Docs, Dropbox etc., to collaborate on documents instead of printing them out
  • Try to edit most of your work online instead of on a hard copy
  • If you do need to print something, try to set the margins smaller to print more information per page, use the black print setting instead of the color setting and print in draft mode. These practices will result in using less paper and ink.
  • And as a reminder, here are the obvious ideas: buy recycled paper, print on both sides, reuse paper as scratch paper, use your recycling bin

Vintage Salt Sack iPad Case by Fritz and Fraulein

2. Energy

Turn it off! When you are done with your work, turn off your computer. For ease of use, plug in your computer and all it's peripherals into a power strip and once you power down your computer you can turn everything off with one push of the button. Set your monitor to turn off after a reasonable time of inactivity instead of using a screensaver. And finally, remember to unplug your chargers when you don't use them. Yes, it comes down to about $1/year/charger but every little bit counts.

3. Office Furniture and Supplies

Use Freecycle or Craigslist to reuse rather than buy new items. For example, right now there are 5 office desks available on Freecycle New York City and assorted three ring binders are looking for a new home on Craigslist.

Salvaged Slate Tray by SimplyNu

4. Price Tags and Displays

Be creative in finding recyclables for your shop supplies. My grandmother who owned an antique shop in Missouri cut out her own display signs out of cereal boxes. Recycle scarves and fabrics into wrappings and furoshiki shopping bags.

I'm sure you can think of many other ways to start off the year on a greener foot. We'd love for you to share them with us!