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Small Business Think Tank [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
How Can A Small Business "Go Green"?Views: 200
Apr 05, 2009 3:02 am re: How Can A Small Business "Go Green"?

Kurt Schweitzer
Some "green" actions are mandated. For example:

* I receive an average of six cubic yards of cardboard a week (packaging materials). I have a Cardboard Only dumpster to handle it. Ordinary waste goes into a separate toter.

* Hazardous materials must also be pulled from the waste stream. Battery cores (mainly lead) are sent back to my battery supplier. Waste oil goes into a special drum, complete with a special pallet to contain any spills. Etc.

On the other hand, some "green" actions are impossible:

* Some personnel records (mentioned in the article) are required by law to be kept on paper.

* Various legal documents are not only paper, but in awkward formats.

* Ventilation requirements may mean having to keep doors open in the winter, resulting in added heating costs.

* Building design may prevent windows from being opened, resulting in increased cooling costs.

Finally, some desirable "green" technology simply isn't there yet:

* I sell electric scooters, but current technology results in a price point/range trade-off that doesn't work for most people.

* CFLs are great for general lighting, but my displays require more directional lighting. Halogen lighting is less efficient, but results in better displays (that sell better).

* Likewise we use lots of LED lighting on the scooters, but LEDs aren't sufficient for headlights. (It will be great when they are!)

I'd say the biggest "green" challenge for my business is balancing the needs of the indoor environment with those of the rest of the world. I've found that too hot or too cold makes me less effective, and hazardous chemical concentrations (in both the shop and the bathroom!) are a health risk and offend customers.

Many "green" actions result in cost savings. For example, the scooters I sell all get at least 60 miles per gallon - three times that of an average car. For many uses (commuting, errands, going to meetings, etc.) a scooter costs less and has a smaller environmental impact than a car. Using CFLs and set-back thermostats also save money.

When "going green" results in more "green" in my pocket I'm all in favor of it!

Kurt Schweitzer
Urban Village Scooters

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