Sustainable practices that help reduce waste or divert waste from landfills to achieve positive impacts in the community and environmental health.
- Reduce copying: use electronic distribution to avoid unnecessary document printing, and set copier and printer defaults to two‐sided
- Regularly update/purge your mailing list to avoid duplication or use marketing materials that require no envelope
- Use electronic billing methods to invoice customers and receive payment
- Encourage employees (posted signs or memos) to use reusable lunch bags, food containers, beverage containers, coffee mugs, cutlery, and shopping bags
- Encourage use of reusable containers or recyclable/compostable containers
- Offer products without packaging, if possible, or utilize packaging that can be recycled or reused, and decrease the number of products made with excess packaging materials
- Eliminate the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups and takeout containers in favor of a more biodegradable or recyclable option
- Reuse packaging and shipping materials such as boxes, envelopes, and packing materials
- Use reusable rather than disposable products‐ dishes, towels, boxes, bags, or containers
- Prohibit littering at the workplace (or have a smoke area), including the improper disposal of cigarette butts
- Store and label all hazardous materials covered, contained, and out of the elements, as well as ensure that these items are turned over for proper recycling, and are not disposed of in the trash
- Recycle your No. 1 waste product (paper, glass bottles, cardboard boxes, pallets, pallet wrap)
- Offer plastic bag or other packaging and product recycling for your customers
- Recycle electronic waste
- Recycle used cooking oil
- Recycle building materials during renovation or construction of the buildings
- Install signs and give instructions on recycling to staff
- Provide recycling containers and adequate signage for your employees, in food areas, and for customers/clients
Composting is a biological decomposition of organic matter. Decomposition occurs naturally and can be accelerated by microorganisms, worms and insects. These break organic materials into compost, which contains nutrients that, when returned to the soil, are used by plants.
Compost food and/or landscape waste. The following table summarizes which material can and cannot be composted. Contact the sustainability program for more information on resources and rebates for composting at your business.
Table 1. Materials to Compost, Carbon: Nitrogen Ratio and Limitations Associated with Each Material.Source: Composting, University of Arkansas- Division of Agriculture
||170:1||Yes||Glue probably organic; less than 10% of the weight of material in the compost pile. Best if shredded.
|Coal, barbecue ashes
||No||Contains sulfur dioxide, may harm plants
|Coffee grounds (N, P)
|Cornstalks, Cobs (C, K)
||60:1||Yes||Best if chopped up
|Cotton gin trash
||BUT make sure that farmer did NOT use arsenicals on the cotton. Arsenic can carry over and cause vegetables to grow poorly.
|Dishwashing, laundry water
||N/A||No||Most dishwashing soaps contain perfumes, greases, sodium
||The pile may not get hot enough to kill disease organisms.
||Crush; source of calcium
|Fish scraps (N, P)
||No||Can attract animals or rodents
|Fruit wastes (N)
||Yes||BUT can attract flies; bury scraps in a pile.
|Grass clippings (N, P, K)
||Yes||BUT if lawn is treated with herbicide, leave on the lawn to decompose. Good source of nitrogen when fresh.
||No||Low in nutrients, attracts animals; may cause odors, slows decomposition
||Yes||Oak leaves are more acidic
||No||Some questions about paper-coating; inks used
|Manures (Horse, cow, chicken, pig, sheep, goat, dog, cat, human
||Horse manure more likely to contain weed seeds. Compost thoroughly. Dog, cat and human waste may contain disease organisms -- NOT COMPOSTABLE
||170:1||Yes||BUT shred for compost; use no more than 10% of weight in a pile
|Peanut hulls (C, N, P)
||50:1||Yes||BUT can carry Southern blight and nemotodes. Many use successfully.
|Pine cones (C)
||N/A||Yes||BUT decomposes slowly, acidic. Must be shredded.
|Pine needles (C)
||90:1||Yes||BUT decomposes slowly, acidic
||100:1||Yes||BUT can have high levels of manganese
|Sawdust (C) All EXEMPT black walnut sawdust and pressure-treated lumber sawdust
||500:1||Yes||Use in moderate amounts. Add additional nitrogen. Add 1 lb. actual nitrogen (6 cups of ammonium nitrate) for every 100 lbs. of sawdust.
Black walnut sawdust is toxic to the compost pile.
Pressure-treated lumber sawdust contains arsenic.
||10-12:1||Yes||Bury in pile
|Wood shavings (C)
||700:1||Yes||BUT must add extra nitrogen (see amounts of extra nitrogen under "Sawdust" entry
|Wood ashes (P, K)
|| No nitrogen
||No||Not recommended but could use the very limited amount as a lime source; do NOT exceed 1 cup wood ashes for each bushel of the compost pile. Highly alkaline, possibility of some heave metal content.
Sustainable practices that help reduce water use in your business. Water conservation is important because fresh, clean water is a limited resource.
- Install permeable pavement in your parking lot to reduce stormwater runoff. More information on EPA's website (Xternal link).
- Install a rain garden to capture stormwater. More information on EPA's website (Xternal link).
- Install a timer and moisture sensor (Xternal link) on your irrigation system. More information on EPA's website (Xternal link).
- Get an irrigation evaluation from Resource Central (Xternal link) to ensure your system is functioning optimally
- Install qualifying WaterSense appliances (Xternal link). Find more water-saving products at Efficiency Works Store (Xternal link).
- Eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers, and replace them with alternatives (Xternal link).
- Use timers on outdoor sprinklers. Find more watering tips on EPA's website (Xternal link).
- Use auto shut‐off on faucets
- Install commercial ultra‐low‐flow toilets and urinals. Find water rebates through Efficiency Works (Xternal link).
- Perform regular irrigation inspections to identity and repair any leaks in watered areas
- Install native or regionally‐appropriate low‐water or no‐water landscaping (Xternal link).
- Plant landscaping in mulch basins near parking areas to reduce stormwater runoff
- Clean outdoor areas with a broom instead of a hose to avoid water waste and reduce pollutant runoff to our watersheds
- Use recovered greywater and/or rainwater in a rain barrel or rain garden
- Learn how to read your water meter and develop a method for tracking usage month‐to‐month
- Require the building's cleaning service to use measured concentrated cleaning supplies to cut down on the overuse of chemicals and reduce waste
- Require the building's cleaning service to use environmentally‐sound cleaning products
- Serve drinking water only by request.
Sustainable practices that help reduce electricity and natural gas use in your business
- Use renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind) through on‐site production or renewable purchase programs
- Purchase “Green Power” Renewable Energy Certificates or Carbon offsets from the utility agency. Contact Longmont Power and Communications for assistance.
- Use an energy management system to control lighting, refrigeration, HVAC, and kitchen exhaust
- Utilize the FREE online energy profile provided by Energy Star Portfolio Manager (Xternal link) to record and track all gas and electricity usage
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat to reduce energy use when the workspace is empty
- Have a professional perform on‐site assessments of your energy use (Xternal link).
- Find energy rebates through Efficiency Works (Xternal link).
- Track energy usage and shared data with employees to encourage a team effort in conservation of resources
- Develop a written plan for meeting energy goals
- Perform a building retro‐commissioning, to ensure the building operation systems are running as efficiently as possible
- Insulate all major hot water pipes or fixtures and/or insulated refrigeration lines (Xternal link).
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and/ or replace old T12 fluorescents with energy efficient lighting. Find lighting solutions on the Efficiency Works Store (Xternal link).
- Replace building exit signs with light‐emitting diode (LED) fixtures
- Use motion sensors, timers, or other lighting controls in appropriate rooms
- Use “Energy Star” equipment (Xternal link)
- Upgrade insulation or windows
- Use weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors
- Have the HVAC or refrigeration tuned‐up or replaced with more energy efficient models
- Set all computer monitors to turn off or sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity
- Turn all computers and lighting off in non‐occupied rooms at the end of each business day
- Install smart strips
- Use natural lighting to reduce energy usage
Sustainable practices that help reduce the fossil fuels usage by your business.
- Purchase materials and supplies locally to reduce transportation emissions
- Implement policies/practices to encourage employee walking, biking, carpooling, transit, and/or telecommuting (Xternal link)
- Install bicycle parking and amenities such as changing rooms and showers
- Provide an incentive or reimburse employee travel on public transportation or alternative transportation
- Use teleconferences or web conferences rather than traveling for face‐to‐face meetings
- Recycle all vehicle fluids
- Establish an anti‐idling policy (Xternal link) at the facility and during deliveries
- Use hybrid, electric or alternative fuel vehicles/ fleet cars
- Provide preferred parking for employees who carpool
Sustainable practices that promote sustainability to your customers and employees.
- Involve employees in developing your sustainable business plan and include their input
- Establish a “sustainability committee” of employees to make the sustainable business plan and to identify new strategies regularly
- Require custodial services to follow environmental best practices while in your facility
- Attend training/information sessions on sustainable practices
- Encourage "sustainable" practices by your customers/clients
- Participate in local green/sustainability events
- Increase employee engagement in sustainability. Read tips on how your business can increase engagement (Xternal link).
Sustainable practices that are socially responsible to your customers and employees.
- Implement programs that support employees and/or their families. Examples include: childcare assistance, emergency rental assistance, professional development opportunities, wellness activities, navigator services
- Implement healthy living measures in the business and for customers (e.g., smoke‐free work environment, healthy food selections to employees/customers, offer free/reduced gym memberships, encourage employees to walk/bike more, etc.)
- Learning how to diversify the workforce and provide livable wages and other benefits
- Ensure equitable hiring practices
- Support a local charity, nonprofit, event or organization that benefits the community as a whole, and/or a specific segment of the community such as seniors, youth, veterans, persons with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, minorities, etc.
- Support/promote social sustainability for your customers. Examples include:
- Welcoming and respecting customers and employees of varying backgrounds and identities
- Supporting healthy choices for customers
- Offering programs for low‐income persons, discounts for nonprofits, incentives for participating in your support for community organizations
- Offering communications in multiple languages, having an accessible space for customers with disabilities, senior friendly
- Create employment opportunities for underemployed groups – seniors, formerly incarcerated, youth, etc.
- Hire local workers
Commitment to Local Economy
Sustainable practices that support the economic vitality of your business and community.
- Participate in the Longmont Startup Week (Xternal link).
- Purchase from local, fair trade, living wage, and/or minority/veteran/woman‐owned businesses
- Learn more about the benefits of using locally produced products in the business supply chain
- Sustainable purchasing (e.g., purchase certified sustainable products and products from local vendors)
- Learn about City’s loan programs and services for small business
- Mentor local entrepreneurs and new businesses
- Offer job training or apprenticeships for local residents
- If applicable, learn more about green tourism initiatives
- Learn about the potential impacts of climate change on business practices, supply chain, etc.
- Learn how City’s tax incentives support sustainable design. Current incentives are directed to a variety of activities including manufacturing, R&D, new construction or tenant finish and personal property investment. Also, state incentives can be included such as employee training and job creation grants.