With the growing awareness on climate change, global warming and the environment, small business entrepreneurs have come up with creative ideas and solutions that not only made their operations green but have also turned these ideas into green businesses.

General Mills used to have contractors haul their solid waste to landfills at a costly $100 a ton. But when they realized they can use solid waste such as oat hulls as alternative fuel for their boilers, General Mills started going green by recycling and even selling as much as 86 percent of their solid waste, in effect making a business out of their solid waste.

Dell’s “Take-Back Program” recovers an average 40 thousand tons of “old” equipment from their users annually for recycling old parts to create new ones, helping to lessen the 4 thousand tons of e-waste per hour that , according to Greenpeace, pile up on dead hardware mountains in India, Africa and China. This not only projects Dell as a leader among green companies but also opens an opportunity for Dell to sell new hardware to replace what their users have returned. Green ideas are also smart business ideas.

Retail giant SM Department Store have recently implemented a “Bring –Your-Own-Bag” policy to encourage their shoppers to re-use old SM plastic shopping bags. Although this is but a small percentage of the more than 500 billion plastic bags being used globally each year, re-using plastic bags will lead to lower carbon emissions from the manufacture of new plastic bags. Re-using plastic bags will also drastically reduce the 80 million barrels of oil required to make plastic bags annually. Re-using plastic bags decreases the volume of trash that clog up sewers and trigger massive flooding.

Taking the cue from these green companies, if the big boys can go green and make a profit off of it, then small businesses have no reason to not go green. From the smallest paper clips to the office heating system, take an audit…a green audit…around the office and shop floor to see where green ideas can be suggested and implemented. Implement green goals such as reducing scrap by X% or reducing heating costs by Y%, and then make these green goals part of your overall business goals. So much waste can be reduced in the workplace if small business owners will implement their own green policies.

Even better, over these past few years, small business entrepreneurs have taken the opportunity to ride the green bandwagon and started up their own green businesses ranging from offering their services as a green consultant, providing green home design services, installing green energy sources such as windmills, biogas plants and solar panels, or re-selling recycled building materials and surplus electronics.

Green businesses take pride in their belief that they can do their own little share in saving the environment and make a little profit while doing so. Green is definitely IN, and going green is one small business idea that’s bound to be a hit.

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