Running a thriving small business is no small feat. We asked successful Krrb businesses for tips on how they do just that while keeping the environment in the forefront. In honor of Earth Day, here are some suggestions from members on ways to stay green without cutting corners.
Cut Your Commute
One of the most eco-conscious things I did when opening my store was to make sure I lived near my business. I live behind my store, so my commute is only 20 steps. This saves on carbon emissions, but it also saves my sanity! I started my business less than a year ago, so I need to spend a lot of time there. It’s nice that I am always just a few steps from home, too.
Explore Energy Options
Look carefully at the resources you use the most when creating your product or service. At Fine Day Press, we create stationery so paper is a big part of what we do! We stay current on paper manufacturing technology and work with companies that use wind power and only FSC-certified content to create our paper, with post-consumer recycled content. We also use tree-free paper for our wedding line. You would be surprised at what you can find out with a bit of research!
Get Creative With Your Materials
Learn from Julie Teska of Orchard Street Press, a Milwaukee-based sustainable screen printing company.
When we started Orchard Street Press four years ago, we did so with a commitment to using only environmentally-friendly inks, which, at the time, were primarily water-based inks. We still stand behind this promise and are excited to see a major commercial shift in the screen printing industry as a whole. Today, we are able to find a wider variety of inks that are free of phthalates and other harsh heavy metals that used to be commonplace. We also use soy-based cleaners here in the shop to reduce the chemical runoff into the water system and recycle everything we can, from cardboard boxes to fabric!
Do It Yourself
Meet Gabriel Nunez of Gabriel John Candles, known for their luxury soy-based candles.
To be eco-friendly doesn’t mean we miss out in luxury. Every box our candles are packaged in is completely handcrafted using recycled materials and acid free inks. We physically stamp, open, and fill all candle boxes. We could buy and package in a beautiful sturdy machine made box, off an assembly line but instead we choose to personally handle each an every box keeping it green without having to add higher material cost to our products.
Go Paperless When Possible
Check out Tracey Spiritus of Compassion Couture and her cruelty-free accessories.
Aside from all our products being cruelty-free with a focus on sustainability, we try to be more green in running our business as well. We try to print as little as possible and keep all records electronically. We use recycled packaging such as boxes made of recycled materials to ship whenever possible. Our marketing materials such as thank you cards, flyers and business cards are printed on recycled paper with soy ink.
Reuse, Reuse, Reuse
You’ll love Maria Palito of MariaPalito and her handmade felt toys and scrapbooking supplies.
Being green is a lifestyle and a choice I made since I started MariaPalito. I began creating my toys using only eco-friendly felt from recycled post-costumer plastic bottles. I wanted to create toys and play a role in trying to change the world from my little studio. I made a pledge to reuse all I have on hand to run my business and to spread the word about the meaning of being green and buying from small eco-friendly businesses. My husband make fun of me because I reuse cereal boxes to store my pieces, I reuse all the packing from my online purchases to ship some of my big items and I recycle all the paper that I got in my mail to make my to-do lists. I keep cans to store my pencils and scissors. I’m committed to creating valuable, sustainable, eco-friendly, well-designed items using my own hands.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Meet Adam Poor of Sprout, and check out their all-nature line of skincare.
We’re always working on ways to improve our shipping methods. For one thing, we’re very meticulous about saving packing materials from incoming shipments and reusing them for our outgoing. But a lot of our sales volume comes from our e-commerce site, which is a less eco-friendly way for people to purchase since it takes up more volume in a truck, etc. So one solution we’ve come up with is a campaign we just ran with our online customers in which we had them suggest stores near them where they would like to be able to buy Sprout products. We’re working on securing retail deals with those stores so that we can keep our customers while lowering our footprint.
Small Changes Add Up
Find out more about Clara Williams of skinnyskinny, the go-to place for organic products for the bath, body and home.
It’s important to remember that no one is perfect and even small changes can add up to significant eco-friendly practices. There are the easy things like using energy-efficient lights, or using paper with recycled content. Or maybe eating less meat. Or opting to purchase Green Energy for your company. All of which are things that we do. It can all be overwhelming if you try to do everything, all at once. The most important step is to just make the decision to be better, day by day. We don’t do “preachy”, but we do advocate honesty and a genuine effort to try.