Or, greener may be more appropriate. Ever since officially launching my photography business over 3 years ago, I have always tried to think of more environmentally friendly ways to conduct business. But, as society becomes more conscious of what we can do, and more green-friendly products become available in the marketplace, I feel I could be doing a little more. So, my goal for 2010 is to take steps to make my business as efficient and green as possible. I plan to mark my progress as I go to let others know what I find out along the way.
So, to start off, I want to take an inventory of where I am currently and then I can target the areas where there may be room for improvement.
- DIGITAL: One of the greatest green improvements is photography has been the digital revolution over the last decade. No more chemicals needing to be disposed, driving to and from the lab for every assignment, and the mere lack of the waste of film canisters, sample prints and proof sheets. With digital, I rarely print or use any tangible products in the entire process. I can go from start to finish of an assignment without one sheet of paper being printed. The only energy used is powering my computer and charging my batteries.
- COMPUTER: Yes, I am on my computer a lot more than in the past, which as we all know, wastes a certain amount of energy. This is unavoidable to conduct business these days. But, there are a few things we can do to lessen the impact. First of all, I always use the energy-savings options on both of my computers, which puts the computer to sleep when it is inactive for 15 minutes. Also, my iMac is one of the most green and energy efficient desktops available, and my Macbook Pro isn't too shabby, either. Now, one area I need to improve on is in shutting my computers down for the night. Admittedly, I often leave them running if I am in the middle of working on an assignment and do not want to shut all the programs down. Well, after doing a little research, a study showed that in one year, the number of computers left idling overnight in the U.S. waste the energy equivalent to 4 million cars on the road (they did not specify if this was for a year, or for normal use, but I'll let it slide since I don't have the exact figures in front of me). They did also say that if all the one billion PC's were turned off for one night, the energy saved could power the Empire State Building for over 30 years. So, this change of habit is going to be at the top of my list!
- OFFICE SUPPLIES: This is probably the area where I can improve the easiest with just a little effort. I do already reuse paper for all printing that isn't required to appear "business-like" and I always save pdf's instead of printing whenever possible. The main problem is that office supply stores have a ridiculously poor selection of "green" office products, and due to the fact that I generally will run out of something the very same day that I need it, that doesn't allow me much opportunity to shop online. So, my goal is to find some online retailers who offer recycled, green products and to stock up in advance rather than waiting until the last minute. Considering that I don't use much, it shouldn't be too hard. Now, does anyone know if they make recycled dvd's??
- TRANSPORTATION: Unfortunately, I am not in the market for a brand new hybrid/electric vehicle. And unless everyone wants to come to my house to be photographed or properties are in walking distance, I'm not sure how this one is going to be easily improved upon. Any thoughts? I do try to only drive when necessary and combine multiple errands whenever I do go out, but beyond that, I'm going to have to get creative with this one.
- ADVERTISING: Well, one of my other goals for my business this year is to run a new advertising campaign. Of course, with the internet, I can technically get myself out to anyone in the world with the click of a "send" button, or even better, people can search and fin me. However, it is necessary to send actual printed materials from time to time. So far, all of my promotional cards and business cards have been printed with 100% recycled material, my business cards also used soy ink. But, if you're doing a larger campaign, those can unfortunately get expensive. I think what I will plan to do is to not sacrifice my new green standards and instead try to target my advertising more selectively.
I plane to update throughout the year as my little seed begins to grow greener. For now, I am off to bed...and turning off my computer.