The Gift of Going Green: Help the Environment & Your Business this Holiday Season

By Stephanie Leydon

wide-shot-tree-resized.324153437_stdGoing “green” is the gift that keeps on giving, especially in the corporate world. Giant corporations–think Walmart–are going green: reducing waste, seeking renewable energy resources and demanding that vendors use sustainable practices. In other words, if you want to do business with a green company, you’d better have environmentally friendly practices in place. You can start now by making this holiday season a green one, both at home and on the job.

“We do 30 percent of our business during the holidays,” said Bruce Crowle, co-founder of Atria, a Green Earth Platinum Certified Interiorscape company in Connecticut. “Always, in the back of our mind, we are thinking how can we do this efficiently? How can we do this sustainably?”

Crowle offers four ideas that can help any business celebrate the holidays with sustainable style.

1. Deck the Halls with LED lights

Few things herald the holiday season as definitively as an impressive array of lights.

Luckily, you can have your lights and still keep your energy usage relatively low by using LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights. They use 10 percent of the energy of regular lights and, for indoor-use, can last up to 100,000 hours. An added bonus, in the past few years the price of LED lights has come down and the quality has gone up.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It’s a catchy phrase that is especially relevant during the holidays when all those packages start arriving.

Bubble wrap can be stored for reuse or recycled. Foam packing chips are not as easily recycled, but you can bring them to shipping centers like Mailboxes, Etc., which will reuse them.

At Atria, plants arrive packaged in cardboard boxes. Crowle keeps those boxes in a warehouse and reuses them for storage until they are too beat up for anything other than the recycling dumpster. At the end of the holiday season, he also collects poinsettias from client offices, composts them and recycles the containers.

3. Embrace Artificial Trees

Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. and about 30 million end up in a landfill.

Atria’s impressive holiday displays almost always feature artificial trees and wreathes because they can be used repeatedly for years.

“With a live tree,” Crowle said, “you’re cutting down a tree every year.”

Another environmental ideal is a potted pine. Crowle sometimes lights and decorates potted trees for clients during the holidays and then plants the trees in the spring.

4. Map Out Energy-Efficient Routes

Whether you’re running errands or running a company, it pays to plan ahead.

At Atria, installation teams try to schedule clients in the same geographic area for the same day. It saves time, gas, and is good for the environment.

During the holidays as much as any other time of the year, going green just makes sense.

“It’s smart; it’s good business and it’s becoming more and more a requirement,” said Crowle.

Image courtesy of Atria