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In today’s age, it is time to transform outdated, environmentally harmful businesses into green, eco-friendly businesses. It is also equally as important to start up a new business as green as possible. As environmental awareness grows, consumers are picking up the habit to shop for eco-friendly, natural products. This trend will only continue to grow as we try to counter decades of environmental damage, and the new generation becomes more Earth-conscious. Who doesn’t want to save the turtles? Whether you’ve been running a business for years or you’re just starting up, here’s why eco-friendly businesses will be the new standard. Also, tips on how to run your business in a way that Earth will approve of.

The Green Age of Entrepreneurship

The journey to a greener Earth began during the Nixon era. Then, it picked up again in the late 2000s. When Obama was in office, he called for beauty companies to remove microbeads from their products. This was due to the inability to filter them out when recycling water. Since then, we’ve been making slow but sure progress to setting green business standards. Fueled by environmental laws and competition, businesses are making their way to be the “it” green company.

By setting environmental consciousness as a trend, the green race results in more environmental innovations. These include Starbucks’ strawless iced beverage lid. Then, other companies looked at McDonald’s and Target’s sustainability and wanted to keep up. Since these companies went green, they’ve drawn in more customers. For example, Burger King tried this and saw numbers soar after they started selling their Impossible Burger. Retailers went green by enforcing reusable bags and switching plastic film bags for paper. Entrepreneurs can only do good by switching to eco-friendly business practices. It will also normalize an eco-friendly lifestyle for businesses and consumers alike.

How to Be an Entrepreneur that Satisfies Consumers and the Earth

Being environmentally conscious is a lifestyle. Cater to your audience who are trying to achieve that lifestyle by making sure your products and packaging are eco-friendly. For starters, make sure your products are free of plastic, styrofoam, and animal products. If made from wood, try switching to bamboo material. Use recycled material if you can! If applicable, design your product to either be recyclable or biodegradable. Due to animal concerns, try to stay away from palm oil. Avoid chemicals and microplastics that will wind up polluting the air/water. Also, if your products’ containers can be reusable, then offer to refill containers for free. Ask your customers to opt-out of paper receipts. Then, for packaging, let’s say goodbye to styrofoam peanuts and pellets. They’re annoying for people and the Earth to clean up. We can also ditch the plastic film (sorry bubble wrap). If you want better options for recyclable and biodegradable packaging supplies, check out EcoEnclose.

Then, go further with your green practices, such as practical sourcing. Make sure that the making of your product doesn’t pollute the air or water, or consumes too much energy. As mentioned above, you can enforce reusable bags and containers. For example, Target and Starbucks will both give discounts when you bring in your own shopping bags and coffee cup. You can also try to reduce carbon emissions from shipping by shipping out products in minimal packages.

On that note, downsize and have your products be lightweight. This way, you’re not burning through as much gas. For greener transportation options, check out electric fleet cars. You can also manage your employees sustainably by having them stay at home instead of having to drive to go into an office. With each decision you make, think to yourself, “How can I make this an environmentally sustainable option?” The Earth will thank you. Lastly, team up with recycling companies and other environmentally-friendly businesses.

Make a Green Difference

It is time for harmful businesses and polluting corporations to stop ruining our Earth. At the rate we are going, we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. We only have one planet. Let’s take care of it by supporting eco-friendly businesses and entrepreneurs. Together, we can make green business trends be here to stay. Encourage and speak out for reusable items, plastic and styrofoam-free products, and sustainable manufacturing and shipping. Stay away from single-use items, especially if they can’t be recycled. Last but not least: reduce, reuse, recycle!

Let us know which eco-friendly, sustainable companies are your favorites in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.