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How to Determine Which Eco-Friendly Changes Your Business Should Make Some green improvements may not be worth the trouble or expense. Here's how to determine which changes will provide the greatest return on investment for your company.

By Michelle Goodman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jed Lazar went out of his way to ensure that the soup-delivery business he opened in 2008 was environmentally conscious. Nearly all the ingredients used by Portland, Ore.-based SoupCycle are organic. In addition, Lazar buys as much as he can from local farmers--currently half his ingredients, and that number is increasing every year.

"That means that money stays as local as possible," says Lazar, who holds an MBA in sustainable business. It also means SoupCycle's customers eat fresh, healthful meals, usually made from seasonal ingredients--about half of which are grown within 400 miles of the company's kitchen. (By contrast, a majority of U.S. grocery items travel 1,500 miles before hitting store shelves, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.)

But helping his local community, not to mention the planet, wasn't Lazar's only motivation for building a green business. He wanted to keep overhead low, too. That's why he opted to make all deliveries by bicycle, reducing both startup and operational costs.

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