GBI Green Activities Checklists

Required Activities are listed in BOLD; Optional Activities are in regular type. To qualify as a Green Business, you must complete all required and minimum optional activities in every category. You may complete as many optional activities as you like. Depending on your type of business, not all activities will apply. If you have questions about any of the activities, please contact the Recycle Depot at 574-935-8618.


Fiber and Packing Waste

1 Required + 3 Optional Activities Required

Description Yes No N/A
Purchase copier/printer paper with at least 30% post-consumer waste.
Use letterhead, envelopes and business cards containing a minimum of 50% post-consumer waste recycled content, recommended 100%.
Buy products in bulk or that are concentrated, durable, repairable and/or recyclable, making sure that you don’t order more than you need.
Purchase office/copier paper with 100% post-consumer waste.
Purchase or obtain previously used furniture, supplies or materials (,, eBay, etc).
Purchase pencils, rulers, and other desk accessories with recycled content.
Remodel/build with materials containing recycled content.
Purchase janitorial paper (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) with minimum 35% post-consumer waste.
Work with vendors to minimize packing; ask vendors to take back packaging and used/damaged product for reuse or recycling (i.e., require chemical suppliers to take back empty drums or containers).
Purchase reusable rather than disposable office items such as refillable pens, erasable whiteboard calendars or charts.


Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling

3 Required + 3 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Eliminate the use of polystyrene, such as Styrofoam, in beverages and food service ware.
Provide recycling containers at convenient and appropriate locations (i.e., lobbies, guest rooms, vending machines, kitchens, next to garbage containers, desks, etc.).
Recycle all paper, glass, metal, cardboard, and plastics accepted in your area.
Make two-sided printing and copying standard practice in your business. Make single-sided the exception instead of the rule. Set computers to default double-sided settings.
Compost or recycle landscape debris and trimmings.
Manage incoming and outgoing mail. Stop unnecessary junk mail, catalogs, trade magazines, or ads. See for tips.
For events, use reusable dishware when possible. If disposable dishware is necessary, use recyclable or compostable options.
Eliminate individual bottles of water for employees and guests.
Print on the back side of previously printed-on paper. Use a second tray of the printer for used paper or keep a supply stacked next to the printer.
Reuse garbage bag liners if not soiled.
Designate a reuse area for office supplies such as binders, folders, and staplers.
Reuse paper or plastic packaging materials in your own shipping. Set aside an area to collect such items for reuse.
Use electronic billing methods to invoice customers and receive payment.
In the lunch/break room, replace disposables with “real” mugs, plates, utensils, etc., and use refillable containers for sugar, salt, pepper, etc. Encourage employees to bring their own lunch in reusable containers.


Energy Conservation

3 Required + 4 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Complete regularly scheduled maintenance on your HVAC system at least once a year per unit, including: cleaning or replacing filters and cleaning air conditioning condenser coils.
Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs.
Replace all T-12 fluorescent lighting with energy-efficient T-8 or T-5 fixtures with electronic ballasts or other equivalent efficiency lighting.
Create a plan to hold an annual training for staff on energy conservation activities.
Employ solar energy to supply a supplemental source of energy to the buiding.
Use task lighting instead of lighting the entire area.
Institute a policy that all electronic devices, lighting, and room cooling units be turned off when not in use and use light switch reminders to remind staff to turn off the same.
Use energy-efficient double-paned windows on at least 90% of windows.
Apply window film to reduce heat.
Shade sun-exposed windows and walls using awnings, sunscreens, trees, or shrubbery.
Use occupancy sensors to control air conditioning and heat.
Replace single or package A/C unit with one that exceeds Title 24 building standards.
Use ceiling fans to promote air circulation.
Use a 365-day programmable thermostat to control heating and air conditioning.
Use lighting controls such as timers.
Use energy efficient exit signs, such as those with LED lights.
Reduce number of fixtures or lamps per fixture.
Use ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators (those over 10 years old should be replaced).
Use a solar water heater or pre-heater.
Use instantaneous hot water heaters (or on demand systems) at point of use.
Insulate all hot water pipes, heaters, tanks, and cold suction lines.
Use weather stripping to seal air gaps around doors and windows.
Use sensors on vending machines and place machines in shaded areas.
Use power management software programs to automatically activate power management settings in computer and printers (see
Use ENERGY STAR office equipment and enable energy-saving features.


Water Conservation

3 Required + 3 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Retrofit current toilets with high-efficiency toilets (1.28 gallons or less per flush). Your water utility may have a rebate program for high-efficiency toilets.
Install low flow aerators or control valves in faucets.
Assign a person to monitor water bills for sudden rise in use, and to track use over time. Call your water company should sudden rises occur.
Use dry floor cleaning methods indoors followed by damp mopping, or use a water efficient water boom or recycling filtered system such as an electronic powered cleaning machine, rather than spraying or hosing with water.
Change window cleaning schedule from “periodic” to “as Required.”
Regularly check for and repair all leaks in your facility.
Learn how to read your water meter. Use the water meter to check for leaks.
Install urinals with 1.0 gallon per flush or less.
If cleaning floors with water, use high-pressure, low-volume cleaning equipment.
Post signs in restrooms and kitchen to encourage water conservation and to report leaks.



1 Required + 3 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Properly store and recycle universal wastes as Required by law. Designate a storage area for spent UW, posting a sign and notifying employees of this area. Ensure that these are Required (and not put into the garbage). Universal wastes are: spent CFL bulbs and fluorescent tubes, electronic equipment, and batteries.
When recycling electronic equipment, take to a certified “e-Steward” for responsible recycling (such as the Recycle Depot!).
Recycle used ink cartridges.
Recycle copier toner cartridges.
Recycle excess paint/solvents (keep only what is needed for touch ups, then give remainder to a hazardous materials waste collection program (the Recycle Depot).
Use refilled or remanufactured laser and copier toner cartridges.
Use recycled oil for vehicles/equipment.
Obtain a battery recharger for the office. Use rechargeable (instead of disposable) batteries for flashlights, radios, remote controls, etc.


Reduce Air Emissions

1 Required + 3 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Complete a CO2 or eco-footprint calculator to determine your own greenhouse gas emissions. (See
Determine transportation options for employees and visitors to your business. Draw up a bicycle route map or walking route if possible.
Encourage employees to rideshare by posting commuter ride sign-up sheets and offering incentive programs.
Buy renewable energy credits or green tags to offset the CO2 emissions from your office’s use of electricity and natural gas (see
Install renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind generators.
Use biodiesel (100% or blends) in place of petro-diesel in vehicles.
Convert company vehicles to low emission vehicles (electric, hybrid, natural gas or alternative fuels).
Provide secure bicycle storage for staff and customers.
Offer telecommuting opportunities and/or flexible schedules so workers can avoid heavy traffic commutes.
Patronize services close to your business (e.g., food/catering, copy center, etc.) and encourage employees to do the same.


Reduce Chemical Use

2 Required + 3 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Use low toxic cleaning products in non-aerosol containers such as Green Seal certified (,, or
Assess chemicals used in your business by reviewing Safety Data Sheets (available online, just search for the name of the product and “SDS”) and warnings on labels. Keep all current SDS sheets on file. Substitute with less toxic alternatives if available.
Eliminate the use of chemical and aerosolized air fresheners/deodorizers. To freshen air, open windows or adjust fan speed in restrooms or kitchens.
Do business with other green businesses.
When remodeling, use natural or low emissions (VOC) building materials, carpets, or furniture.
Buy recycled paint and low VOC products when available (paint, paint removal products, etc.).
Eliminate the routine use of all disinfectants and sanitizers, unless needed to comply with Environmental Health (soap and water are enough for routine use).
Print promotional materials with vegetable or other low-VOC inks.
Use unbleached and/or chlorine-free paper products (copy paper, paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, etc.).
Replace standard fluorescent lights with low mercury fluorescent or LED lights.
Use one or a few low-toxicity multipurpose cleaners, rather than many special-purpose cleaners.



4 Required + 1 Optional Activities

Description Yes No N/A
Keep dumpsters closed and impermeable to rainwater. Keep them from overflowing and keep dumpster/parking areas clean.
Regularly check and maintain storm drain openings and basins. Keep litter, debris and soil away from storm drains.
Do not wash cars, equipment, floor mats, or other items where run-off water flows straight into the storm drain.
Ensure that no wastewater enters a storm drain. Only rain water should go down the storm drain.
Clean outdoor surfaces by dry sweeping.
Post signs at targeted trouble spots to explain proper practices to prevent pollutants from reaching storm drains – remind employees and residents that storm drains feed our water supply!