Simple Steps for Businesses
Thanks for Choosing Environmental Excellence! Here are some ideas to help you improve the environment in your place of work. In generating this list, we have incorporated a wide variety of suggestions, knowing that what makes sense for one business, may not be practical for another. We hope you will consider adding the steps that seem right for your business.
Make changes in your mission statement and company policy to include environmental impacts.
Create a planning committee to make environmental improvements.
Publicize new environmental goals and policies within your company and encourage employee participation.
Join the EPA's WasteWi$e program, a national waste reduction project. Call for information.
Increase recycling efforts by recycling materials that are currently discarded or by increasing the amount of currently recycled materials. Call us for help in identifying recycling companies meeting your requirements.
Review purchasing policies to eliminate any barriers to buying products with recycled content.
Provide incentives for employees to carpool or use public transportation. Call or contact for assistance.
When planning construction and remodeling, choose building design, materials, and furnishings that are environmentally preferable (energy and water conserving, with recycled content, etc.)
Become a member of the St. Louis Environmental Business Network.
Offer a way for employees to contribute to environmental organizations through a payroll deduction.
Once your environmental program is in place, nominate your business for an Environmental Excellence Award. These awards are presented annually by Choose Environmental Excellence - Gateway Region to individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations throughout the metropolitan area that have taken exemplary steps toward becoming more environmentally responsible.
Buy Recycled - Buy Smart
Order a copy of the Recycled Products Guide.
Purchase office and shipping supplies with as high a post-consumer recycled content as possible.
Order supplies in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
Purchase products that are packaged in containers that can be recycled locally.
Purchase recycled or rebuilt toner and printer cartridges.
In the Office
Implement a paper recycling program and encourage participation. Paper, envelopes, file folders, books, magazines, and cardboard can all be recycled. In most cases, the costs incurred will be offset by the decreased volume in your trash dumpster. Contact us for assistance in identifying a recycler.
Learn what types of office paper are not recyclable in your area and limit use of those materials.
Encourage the use of e-mail and voice mail communication to minimize printed copies of memos, etc.
Circulate or post memos, documents, periodical and reports instead of distributing individual copies.
Post reports and general information memos on your internal web site instead of making paper copies.
Proof and edit documents on the computer. Print drafts on scrap paper.
Receive faxes directly by computer and print only the necessary pages.
Make double-sided copies whenever possible.
Reuse office supplies, such as file folders and manila envelopes, whenever possible.
Use scrap paper for informal notes and phone messages.
Use shredded newspaper as packing material.
Keep your organization's mailing list current and eliminate duplicate mailings.
Consider adding "Address Service Requested" to return addresses.
Consider adding "or Current Resident" to mailing addresses for mass mailings of a general nature.
Recycle inkjet and toner cartridges. Contact us for assistance in identifying a recycler.
Reduce the amount of junk mail your company receives.
Call the US Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Hotline for information on how to make your facility more energy efficient.
Install reusable furnace and air conditioner filters and clean them monthly.
Establish a regular maintenance routine to prolong the life of equipment.
Install airlock entrances.
Institute energy management programs at all facilities.
Conduct an energy audit and prioritize recommendations.
Purchase copiers and other equipment that feature an energy-saving mode.
Put thermostats on timers to minimize air conditioning and heating during hours when the building is not occupied.
Install energy-saving software on computers.
Turn off lights in areas that are not in use.
Install motion sensors to turn off lights in rooms that are not used frequently.
Use energy-efficient fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs.
Retrofit exit signs with fluorescent lights or replace with light-emitting diode technology.
Service gas boilers and water heaters twice a year.
Install heat recovery equipment on large air conditioning units to preheat water.
Purchase hybrid-electric vehicles for company use.
Maintain company vehicles to maximize fuel efficiency.
In the Lunchroom
Use glass, china, or dishwasher-safe plastic instead of disposable plates and cups.
Use metal flatware instead of disposable plastic.
Use linen or reusable plastic tablecloths instead of paper placemats.
Serve sugar and creamer from containers instead of individual serving packets.
Use pump dispensers or larger size containers for condiments instead of individual serving packets.
Limit the use of straws and use bulk straw dispensers instead of individually wrapped straws.
Serve milk from self-service machines instead of individual cartons.
Use soda fountains instead of individual containers. Reduce the price of beverages for employees who supply their own reusable cups.
Purchase reusable coffee filters.
Donate surplus or past-pull-date food items to food banks or shelters, if still edible.
Compost fruit and vegetable food waste.
Reuse ice for plant and landscape watering.
Replace folded paper towels with roll dispensers (which usually cost less and reduce the volume of paper needed) or air dryers.
Buy unbleached kitchen paper products with recycled content. Unbleached products reduce the amount of dioxin released into the environment.
Use cloth hats and aprons instead of disposable paper.
Use newspapers to drain cooking grease instead of paper towels.
Use a chalkboard or dry-erase board to post menu changes or daily specials.
Select a commercial conveyor-type dishwasher with an electric eye, so that water flows only when dishes are in the conveyor.
Install manual pre-wash dishwashers. These units use between 0.8 and 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while automatic units typically use between 3 and 6 gallons per minute.
Install open-door buzzers for walk-in refrigerators.
Disconnect lights or remove bulbs in dessert and salad refrigerators. These lights create heat and are usually unnecessary.
Install timers on hood fans, exhaust systems, and hood lights.
Use convection ovens instead of conventional ovens.
Install grease traps in all waste traps.
Clean grills and grease filters daily for greater heat transfer.
Service all gas cooking equipment at least twice a year to maximize operating efficiency.
Ensure that all refrigeration units are sealed properly in order to contain environmentally-harmful coolants.
In the Restroom
Replace folded paper towels with roll dispensers or air dryers.
Buy unbleached restroom paper products.
Consider purchasing faucets with motion sensors and automatic shutoff.
Cleaning Supplies and Other Chemicals
Purchase these items only in amounts needed. Properly dispose of unused quantities of solvents and other chemicals classified as hazardous waste. Contact us for assistance in disposing of these items.
Replace chemical or chlorinated cleansers with citrus and water-based products.
Use vinegar mixed with water as an everyday glass cleaner.
Use water-based (latex) paints whenever possible.
Use solar timers for parking lot and walkway lighting.
Install motion sensors to turn lights on/off where appropriate.
Select landscaping plants that require minimal maintenance and attract bees and butterflies.
Place sprinkler systems on a timer and monitor for leaks.
Water lawns in the morning to avoid evaporation in the afternoon and disease from evening dampness.
Instruct grounds maintenance personnel to adjust the cutting height of their lawnmowers so that the grass is not cut too short.
Instruct grounds maintenance personnel to leave grass clippings on the lawn to decrease the amount of watering needed.
Direct rainwater from downspouts onto plants.
Purchase remanufactured business furniture. Donate used furniture to charities or sell to used-equipment dealers.
Rent equipment that is used infrequently.
Donate surplus building materials to Habitat for Humanity's Restore. Donate other types of scrap and surplus materials to St. Louis Teacher's Recycle Center, Leftovers, etc. or Kidsmart Tools for Learning.
Reuse foam peanuts, bubble wrap, and other packing material. Call the Peanut Hotline, for a listing of businesses in your area that will accept foam peanuts for reuse.
Return or reuse wooden pallets.
Use re-refined motor oil in company vehicles.
Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposables and recycle those batteries when their useful life is over.