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Expand Your Eco-Influence

What can you do to reduce water consumption?

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Recently, our own Monica Schenk informed us of the über-cool Eco-Mom Alliance, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering mothers to make a difference in the battle against climate change. This group highlights the power that parents have in our families, communities, and schools. Which got us thinking…

As a member of Low Impact Living’s community, you are most likely taking steps in your personal life and around your home to reduce your impact on the earth. But what about all of the other circles that you and your family inhabit? Here, we take a look at some great ideas for the rest of your life.

Working for a Living

While companies like Toyota and GE are coming up with exciting new green products, others are focusing on greening areas of their current operations – something that any company can do, including yours. For example, Bank of America as instituted an internal recycling program that saves the equivalent of more than 200,000 trees per year. BofA also supports employees’ desires to reduce the CO2 emissions they produce through driving, by offering $3,000 cash back to those who buy hybrids – what a deal!

Another area that companies are investigating is their supply chain – all of the raw materials, products and services that a company buys in order to do their thing. Wal-Mart has requested that suppliers reduce the packaging of products sold in their stores. Starbucks has instituted a “bean-to-cup” initiative that drove the use of recycled paper sleeves, saving the equivalent of 78,000 trees in 2006.

Since companies also use enormous amounts of energy, several forward-thinking organizations are purchasing credits to offset their usage. Whole Foods Market was the first to offset 100% of its electricity use through wind-energy credits.

Of course, we don’t all have the sort of power that these corporate behemoths have. But even though you may not work for a giant company with company-wide green initiatives, often all it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease to make big changes.

Take a cue from a leader in the hotel industry, Fairmont Hotels.  They believe that one of the best ways for any company to get started is to form a Green Team with folks from different areas of the company.  All you need is a champion to pick up the cause. You can bet that there will be many money-saving ideas generated by people who have been itching to make things better, but haven’t had the forum to do so.  Besides, anyone can make like the big guys and look into recycling programs. Or consider greening your office supplies through a new supplier, like The Green Office.

We also need some suggested for how to make your office or workplace more green, please check out our earlier post on 10 Ways to Green Your Office.

You can also see if your city has a Green Business Certification program, like the ones in San Francisco and Santa Monica, CA.  States are also getting into the act, with new business greening programs taking root in Arizona and Maine.

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