How to Green the Workplace had a one-on-one interview with Jennifer Kaplan, author of “Greening Your Small Business.” Here are some tips she offered on how to gain a competitive edge -- and consequentially save some “green” -- while greening your small business. What is the first step in greening your small business?

Kaplan: First, make the commitment to dedicating time, thought and resources. I suggest you create a green team. You don’t need a specialized staff of people of people to do this; it can just be a group of employees who are interested in being green. How can this save a business owner money?

Kaplan: Obviously, when you are using less, you are not buying (paying for) as much of it. Small businesses that green themselves and use that as a marketing tool can create a competitive advantage, as most consumers will shop green if all other factors are equal. What are the most important items on your green checklist?

Kaplan: Take advantage of all recycling [opportunities], because in this day and age many jurisdictions require recycling. If you’re unsure of what can be recycled, check with your local public works department. Have clearly marked bins placed appropriately in your establishment. How can you train employees to be green?

Kaplan: Communication is key. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive process. It just has to be done. What is the biggest step in going green?

Kaplan: Getting involved and become an advocate for change. Changing business practices is only one piece of the greening puzzle. Just because a business owner can’t afford, for example, to install solar panels doesn’t mean he can’t make a difference. I always advise business owners to get involved, join green business organizations, strengthen green requirements for suppliers, and provide customers with greener alternatives.