The pursuit of a cleaner world continues. What was once a mission of only the most conscientious citizens has found its way into every level of government and industry, yielding some big changes that are truly benefiting the environment.
But to some extent, the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. We are already doing the most obvious things, like insulating our homes and recycling plastic. It takes some innovative thinking to identify other ways to make a difference.
Fortunately, many businesses have really put some thought into this and have indeed developed some great ideas on how to cut their carbon footprint. The ideas that they have put together can be beneficial to both consumers and businesses who want to do a little more to get a little greener.
Equipment and machinery use a lot of energy, and optimizing consumption can go a long way toward reducing the movement of the power meter and the gas meter. Machinery that has been poorly maintained or is poorly designed will end up consuming more energy. Breakdowns can also result in costly repairs and the use of more raw materials to replace underperforming machinery components.
It is in this area where wear resistant steel and other new materials can really shine. With them, machinery lasts longer and performs more efficiently, resulting in better energy use and reduced downtime. Precise maintenance of company fleets is helping as well, with tire pressure monitors and recycling of used motor oil.
Companies are finding new ways every day to use less paper. It’s a natural process, given the growing accessibility of high-speed internet and the greater adoption of Cloud storage. The familiar metal file cabinets of the 1990’s workplace have been replaced by servers that store far more data than whole rooms of cabinets ever could.
Financial transactions are a major part of this. There are fewer and fewer companies making actual paper paychecks anymore, opting for direct deposits that not only require less printing but also save gas as employees no longer have to drive to the bank on payday.
Many other financial transactions are done electronically as well. Everything from utility bills to credit card payments can be received and paid online, with no paper, no trips to the post office, and faster turnaround.
GPS technology has graduated from simply helping you find a nearby restaurant and is now tying into route planning to create efficient delivery and transportation schedules. UPS has long been known for carefully designing routes to avoid time-wasting left turns, and now almost every company does so themselves or utilizes vendors who do so.
Even farming is in on it, using satellites to map field fertility and manage fertilizer rates as tractors crawl across thousands of acres of land. This results not only in reduced fertilizer application but also greater fuel efficiency for tractors as they pull lighter loads.
The hallmark of business success has always been innovation. For decades—centuries, really—it was all about building the proverbial better mousetrap. But now business is finding that not only is it great to build a better mousetrap, it’s also great to use less fuel, paper, and time to do it. It’s giving us mousetraps that will help reduce our carbon footprint and build a greener future.