Create a
Green Business
The Big Green Opportunity for Small Business

Using green business practices can save your business money....Taking green seriously can open up new markets and profitability. This report shows how small businesses can do both.

Click here for a summary of the 10 biggest cost-savings and the most popular actions taken by small businesses.

Click here for the entire report showing business opportunities in going green and how businesses finance green activities.

Auto Repair: Top 10 Green Practices

  1. Minimize the liquids you use and discharge. Clean up spills immediately and use dry clean-up practices.
  2. Cut out the use of absorbent (kitty litter, rice hulls, and dry sweep). Instead use a squeegee and dust pan or an oil mop.
  3. Replace your petroleum naphtha solvent sink with an aqueous-based sink or parts washer.
  4. Order recycling containers for newspapers, cardboard, plastic, and glass.
  5. Order motor oil, anti-freeze, and other fresh fluids in bulk, rather than in multiple, individual containers.
  6. Eliminate the use of spray cans. Replace with brake cleaning sinks or refillable spray containers.
  7. Replace T-12 bulbs and fixtures with T-8s whenever feasible to produce good lighting with lower energy use.
  8. Install timers or motion sensors to shut off lights in rooms that are not in constant use throughout the work day.
  9. Eliminate unnecessary car washing. For exterior cleaning use only plain water or prevent soapy water from entering a storm drain.
  10. Check your water bill monthly to look for and investigate spikes in use that may indicate a leak in your plumbing.

Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

Hotels: Top 10 Green Practices

  1. Monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use. Watch for changes that may indicate a need to repair or change equipment.
  2. Evaluate cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides and other chemicals used throughout your facility. Can a safer product be substituted? Can a product be eliminated? Are chemicals being stored safely?
  3. Buy recycled-content products for the office, construction and remodeling projects.
  4. Buy in bulk, whether it's guest amenities or food for the kitchen.
  5. Start a recycling program for trash from guest rooms, the kitchen and your business office. Target materials: paper of all kinds, bottles and cans, plastics and cardboard.
  6. Provide incentives to encourage staff participation in efforts to "green" the establishment.
  7. Institute a linen reuse program in guestrooms.
  8. Install energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs, heating and air conditioning, washers and dryers, and other electrical equipment.
  9. Install water conserving showerheads and toilets in guestrooms.
  10. Donate leftover food, amenities and other "extras" to local shelters or other recipients.
  11. Green Hotels Association has green ideas, a catalog of environmental products, list of approved vendors and membership opportunities.
  12. Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

Landscapers: Top 10 Green Practices

  1. Right Plant, Right Place Use hydrozoning (grouping plants with similar water needs), use drought tolerant and disease resistant plants (native plants!).
  2. Landscape for Less to the Landfill Mulch or compost green waste on site, avoid plants that require extensive pruning, grasscycle, separate green waste for recycling.
  3. Integrated Pest Management Use IPM techniques: monitor pests and their natural enemies, use pest-resistant plants, evaluate damage vs. need to treat, use least toxic alternatives, spot treat if needed.
  4. Reduce chemical use Use IPM techniques, use compost instead of chemical fertilizers for soil and plant health.
  5. Reduce water use at your job sites Use drought tolerant plants, hydrozone, mulch, monitor irrigation schedule and system and in your office - install low flow devices on sinks and use water-conserving toilets.
  6. Nurture soil health Minimize tillage and chemical applications, use compost and mulch.
  7. Prevent storm water run-off Keep pesticides, soil, leaves and debris out of storm drains, keep vehicles and equipment leak-free.
  8. Buy recycled-content products In your office, buy recycled content paper products; in landscaping, use recycled lumber and other recycled content materials.
  9. Reduce energy usage Use energy efficient lighting in your office and monitor your energy bills.
  10. Reduce emissions Keep vehicles well-maintained and encourage employees to take public transit or carpool.

Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

Printers: Top 10 Green Practices

  • Computerize pre-press operations to eliminate photochemicals and saves water and energy
  • Establish a solvent recycling program to reduce air pollution
  • Use alcohol-free printing to impove air quality, improve worker health and safety, and reduce chemical use
  • Print on "treeless" and recycled content papers to save trees, energy, and water and reduce landfill.
  • Educate customers on "green printing" to prevent pollution and encourage resource conservation
  • Use low VOC inks to reduce air pollution and improve employee safety
  • Sequence print jobs by ink color to saves ink changes, labor, ink waste
  • Establish inventory control to reduce waste
  • Communicate without paper to reduce waste
  • Use energy efficient equipment to save energy and money.

Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

ConServe Solutions for Sustainability: Restaurant

The National Restaurant Association has created this website with conservation tips for every part of your restaurant. Visit

Restaurants: Top 10 Green Practices

  • Use low flow pre-rinse spray nozzles at the dish machine. (Your water company may provide free low flow pre-rinse nozzles.)
  • Use Energy Star compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of incandescent bulbs in store-rooms, break rooms, offices, wall sconces, kitchen exhaust hoods and walk-in refrigerators.
  • Use ultra low-flow toilets and flow restrictors on restroom faucets.
  • Buy products in returnable, reusable or recyclable containers.
  • Recycle food*, cardboard, paper, glass, metal and plastics. (*food waste, along with waxed cardboard, paper napkins, paper beverage cartons and wooden crates can be picked up for off-site composting )
  • Buy recycled-content paper products whenever possible, including hand towels, napkins, office and food service uses.
  • Use take-out containers that can be composted (paper) or recycled (number 1 and number 2 plastics, aluminum) instead of styrofoam.
  • Properly maintain grease traps and kitchen hoods to prevent overflows and emissions to the sewer and storm drain systems.
  • Keep outdoor waste storage, parking and sidewalks free of litter, grease spills and other potential pollutants. Use sweeping and spot cleaning for most clean ups. If washing is needed, use a cleaning method that keeps cleaning water out of storm drains.
  • Use organically or sustainably produced foods in the kitchen.
  • Consider becoming a certified green restaurant at This site also lists green-certified restaurant products.

Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

Wineries: Top 10 Green Practices

  1. Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program
  2. Start monthly "Green" committees.
  3. Recycle cardboard and shrink wrap through the use of balers.
  4. Install ozone systems to sterilize barrels. This eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals.
  5. Use high pressure/low volume cleaning equipment to reduce water usage.
  6. Reduce energy usage for cooling tanks by using refrigeration jackets.
  7. Purchase new equipment, such as: a. Vacuum pumps to eliminate water used in bottling operations b. Self-cleaning presses used in crush operations which reduce water use Both these purchases reduce energy usage.
  8. Use pumice and diatomaceous earth as compost in the vineyards.
  9. Protect against pests in vineyards naturally using permaculture gardens.
  10. Reuse waste water on vineyards and landscaping.
  11. Convert waste wine into marketable vinegar.

Courtesy of Bay Area Green Business Program

Developing a Voluntary Environmental Management System ISO 14001

An Environmental Management System is a management tool to:

  • identify and control the environmental impact of a business' activities, products or services
  • Improve its environmental performance continually
  • Implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets, to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved

ISO 14001 is a set of international standards on what an environmental management system should contain. To be certified 14001 compliance, your business must develop an environmental management system, train your employees, and then be certified by an outsider that you have implemented your system.

The benefits to developing an ISO 14001 environmental management system include:

  • Reduced cost of waste management
  • Savings in consumption of energy and materials
  • Lower distribution costs
  • Improved corporate image among regulators, customers and the public
  • Framework for continual improvement of environmental performance

Free Implementation Guide for small and medium businesses

Click here for the US Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Management Systems: An Implementation Guide for Small and Mid-Sized Organizations.

Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has developed a series of free tools to help businesses with environmental management. There is a Guided Discovery tool to help you find resources that can help your business. Click here to see these free tools.