It’s an unfortunate truth that many environmentally friendly products and services cost more than their less green counterparts. But going green doesn’t have to mean spending more; in fact, independent contractors can actually save themselves a surprising amount of money by adopting a green attitude towards their daily business tasks. We’ve put together a list of quick tips that solopreneurs can reference in their quest to save money by going green.
Of course, the very best way to go green in the printing department, and save money on paper, ink, and toner, is not to print or make copies at all. Using email to send completed work or invoices, or even scanning and then emailing documents such as contracts, allows independent contractors to avoid printing expenses altogether. If you must print, however, there are steps you can take to minimize the costs, such as printing on both sides of each sheet of paper, or printing exclusively in draft mode to conserve ink. And of course, whether you’re using email or simply conserving resources as you print, you’ll be benefitting the environment at the same time, by reducing waste.
While we normally think of recycling as a way to convert trash into something usable again, solopreneurs can save money by recycling items that are most definitely not trash, as well. Instead of buying brand new office furniture, comb stores for vintage used furniture. You’ll not only be saving money, but you’ll also be giving your office character. You can also look for pre-owned, refurbished equipment such as printers and even computers for significant savings – and by taking advantage of trade-in programs, you can exchange your old, used devices for a discount on new ones.
Rather than buying a different appliance to handle each different task, such as a printer, a fax machine, a copier, etc., buy an all-in-one device instead. Not only will you save money on the machine itself as opposed to buying several, but you’ll save on energy costs, as well. And while you’re out buying office appliances, you should stock up on CFL or LED light bulbs, as well. Incredibly, making this one simple switch can save you up to 7% annually on your energy bill.
The price of gas isn’t likely to go back down to 20th century levels any time soon, so choosing a hybrid as your next vehicle is a smart way to save money while reducing your carbon footprint. Taking public transportation to appointments when possible is another green way to save money.
While mass mailings are mostly a thing of the past, other printed marketing materials, such as brochures and flyers, are still common. To cut down on the necessity for these materials, strategically placed QR codes can provide customers with the same information on their smart phones or tablets, instead.
By implementing these tips in your independent consultancy, you’ll be saving money while helping the environment. And when today's discerning consumers find out how green you are, it just might help business, as well.
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News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the September 19, 2016 edition.