There’s never been a better time to go green. Global warming is our reality, and planet Earth’s resources are being consumed by a swelling population. Waste is piling up. Join the St. Patrick’s day festivities and wear something green – and consider the following tips to make sure your business is green too.

1. Buy a programmable thermostat for your business. The cost is typically under $100.00, and you can make up this saved cost in the first year.

2. Use a water filter to purify tap water in your office vs. buying bottled water for employees. Bottled water is expensive and it generates a huge quantity of container waste.

3. Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products vs. inexpensive products that need to be replaced often. In many cases, durable equipment saves money over continuous replacement of less costly products.

4. Minimize packaging materials by using properly sized boxes. The less material you have to use to package an item, the less it costs.

5. Use recycled boxes and packaging materials. Since most packaging material ends up thrown away, this is a great way to feel good about your green footprint.

6. Use natural lighting when possible and encourage staff to turn off lights when not in use or invest in timers or motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when they are not needed.

7. Reduce your energy costs by using energy-saving light bulbs.

8. Place a recycle can near every trash can.

9. Shut off computers and the power strips when you leave for the day.

10. Set your computer to “go to sleep” automatically during short breaks.

11. Institute a policy of two-sided printing and use the back of old documents for drafts whenever you can.

12. Buy chlorine-free paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content.

13. Recycle toner and ink cartridges. According to Office Depot, each reused toner cartridge keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills and conserves about a ½ gallon of oil!

14. Go paperless. Make a policy to post manuals and other lengthy documents online.

15. Recycle everything! Most paper can be recycled and don’t forget electronics – old computers, cell phones, PDAs and more.

16. When purchasing office supplies, try to buy recycled products.

17. When holding company events where food will be served, try to use reusable dishes, silverware and glasses.

18. Use non-toxic cleaning materials – they are often less expensive.

19. Get rid of expensive, chemical-laden air fresheners. Use plants to absorb indoor pollution.

20. Opt-out of receiving the Yellow Pages. The big book of phone numbers is now practically obsolete, and consumes tons of paper each year. There are many online resources that can be used as a Yellow Pages alternative.

Thank you for your efforts to keep our planet happy – and luck ‘o the Irish to you!