In honor of Earth Day, which was yesterday, I’d like to talk about my efforts to make my business as eco-friendly as possible. Once it really dawned on me that I’m the boss of this biz (even though I do sometimes wish someone would tell ME what to do), it hit me how scary, sexy, cool that is since I am the one making all the decisions. So, here’s a little run-down of what I do to make Origin Photo green since I’m a total tree-hugger at heart.
Location, Location, Location. My home office/studio is located super close to public transportation –just a half block away from beautiful, bustling Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia — which means I can hop on a train and take the Chestnut Hill East Line (R8 or R7) and get wherever I need to go in under an hour. I live about a 35 second walk to my local post office — awesome because I never have to burn gas dropping client orders in the mail. I often walk up to Starbucks or Chestnut Hill Coffee Co. to meet potential clients to discuss business over cups of coffee or tea.
Having a home office/studio reduces my impact and overall eco-footprint because it’s the same place I live with my husband, Steve, and doggie, Chase Humphrey. Currently, Steve and I each have our own fuel-efficient cars, but I do daydream, though, about becoming a one-car family and reducing our eco-footprint even more.
For those who know me really well, I like to paint the walls of my house just about once every season. That’s normal, right? When I do this, I use low-VOC paint. We use smart appliances that are all Energy Star Certified. Concrete countertops …(Photo by Steve Miller)
…bamboo (super renewable) island in the kitchen.
I’m obsessed with turning things off AND unplugging them when I’m not using them (unlike what you see in the concrete photo taken above –that’s the radio plugged in and I swear I’m listening to it right now!). Things like my hair dryer, computer, printer, camera battery charger, etc. all get unplugged as soon as I’m done usin’ em. This is a great tip for saving money on your electric bill, not to mention doing your part to avoid global climate change. Double bonus!
I use compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and they last pretty much for.ev.er.
My business cards and promotional materials are press-printed on recycled cardstock!
For all of my professional printing, I use a very green lab. They are eco-conscious from start to finish and that’s why I love them! They saved over 2 tons of wood use, 25 million BTU’s of energy usage and a staggering 12,000 gallons of waste-water this year because they simply reduced the amount of documents they printed (like reports and invoices). Pretty cool!
The business of photo printing is naturally very unnatural because of the chemistry involved. Have you ever thought about how photographs last as long as they do? One of the major things at play is the silver halide gelatin emulsion that contains some nasty stuff. My lab has been processing and removing the silver from their chemistry before disposing since they first started!
I buy local as much as possible. If not local, then atleast domestic. My husband is my framer and he buys his wood in nearby Allentown, PA. Most of it is reclaimed and restored barnwood! I look to buy from companies who have an environmental action plan.
All of my cleaning supplies are natural and I recycle my ink cartridges.
I’m a big vest and scarf kind-of-a-girl. Heating my body is way more efficient than heating the air in my home, so I keep my thermostat set to less than 68 degrees during the chilly days and 78 or higher during the hot ones. Ceiling fans are amazing for regulating the temperature since their very efficient machines.
I recycle all of my cardboard, paper, and plastic.
I hope this post inspires you to think about a thing or two you can do to live with more eco-friendly purpose. Can you think of anything else I can do to make my business more green? Happy Earth Day!