Self-storage facilities are often perceived by their local communities as necessities, not assets, as hide-away places where people only go when they have a storage need. But that perception can be changed by self-storage operators embracing the green movement.
Storage businesses can improve their public image by taking simple steps that will position them as champions of Mother Earth. In so doing, they'll bring in more sales while garnering great public relations.
How Do You ‘Go Green'?
"Going green” involves being conscious of the environmental impact of your actions―your business and personal practices, the products you use, etc.—and tailoring them to be Earth-friendly. It takes effort and often involves some up-front cost, but it's worthwhile in the long term. The end result for self-storage operators is that by working to help clean up the environment, they earn positive recognition and generate community awareness.
There are many ways self-storage operators can go green. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Use green energy. Put timers on lights and use energy-efficient light bulbs. You can also install solar panels, a "cool” metal roof (one using Polyvinylidene Fluoride paint) or even an energy-generating windmill, and then sell excess energy back to the city.
- Use green products. Buy paints and siding that contain no volatile organic compounds. Use eco-friendly cleaning and insect-control products. (Orange oil is great for termites.)
- Sell green products. Selling recycled boxes and packing is popular. Also consider selling storage products made from recycled plastic, corn, recycled tires, etc., and other unique materials.
- Promote green websites and information. Provide green tips through your facility website. Link to the websites of green products and businesses or local green organizations.
- Offer recycling bins. Many facilities do not offer any kind of recycling, but they should. You might even be able to make money on your customers' throwaways. Just make sure you keep your recycle bins clean.
- Become an e-waste drop-off site. Collecting e-waste—drained batteries, empty ink cartridges, old cell phones, old computer equipment—is a convenience for existing customers and can attract new people to your facility. It's as easy as providing a recycle bin and appropriate signage.
- Sponsor e-waste collection days. Promote the event on your website, post fliers and tell customers. After the collection event, ask a certified recycler to pick up the materials, or drop them off at a certified recycle facility.
Going green can help self-storage facilities bring in client traffic and added revenue. With ingenuity and facility upgrades, operators can save money and create energy. Plus, expansion of green products sold to the public—in the storefront and online—helps operators become active members of their communities and be recognized as a vital business committed to cleaning up the neighborhood and saving the planet.
Barry Keyes is CEO of California-based GREENspot DROPoff Inc., a network of e-waste collectors throughout California. Through partnerships with self-storage facilities and other DROPoff locations, the company provides free and convenient e-waste recycling to the public. The company also educates the public about the harms of e-waste, and gives back money to local schools and charities for every eligible piece of e-waste collected at one of the company's locations. For information, call 800.350.3550; visit http://www.greenspotdropoff.org/.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Inside Self-Storage, the premier magazine of the self-storage industry. For more information, visit http: //www.insideselfstorage.com/.