Businesses are increasingly doing their part to contribute to a greener world through the use of green office products. As we marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this year, companies are increasingly using green business products that can make an office as efficient, clean and productive as ever, while enabling them to use fewer resources and save money.
There is a commitment of office products purchasers to purchase environmentally responsible products and the wide array of high-quality green office products offered by local office supply dealers. These dealers are backed by smart and committed manufacturers who are responding to the growing appetite for green products.
Manufacturers and dealers offer businesses real choices -- not just between a few products in narrow categories, but from among thousands of products in dozens of categories. These include paper, envelopes and folders; rechargeable batteries; remanufactured ink cartridges; biodegradable cleaners; office furniture and much more.
Paper requires bright color, substantial weight and the ability to accept clear imprinting of ink. Technology now makes it possible to get crisp printed pages using paper stock with high recycled-paper content. Documents for submission to customers can easily use paper with 30% recycled content that features bright white (92 to 96 GE brightness) or a choice of bright colors. Available from well-know suppliers such as Boise, Hammermill, Mohawk, Oxford, Strathmore, Universal and Wausau, paper is available in quantities up to 10-ream/5,000-sheet cartons. The carton themselves are made with recycled cardboard, an additional green benefit.
For less sensitive documents, printer and copier paper with up to 100% recycled content is available, as is cover stock for report covers.
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Many cleaning products contain toxic ingredients or "volatile organic compounds." VOCs are the petroleum-based solvents which emit fumes into the atmosphere and office air. Fortunately, there are effective, residue-free natural alternatives to chemicals used in janitorial and sanitation ("jan-san") products. Soaps, hand cleaners, kitchen/bathroom cleaners, degreasers and floor/carpet cleaners are available with lemon oil, coconut-based cleaning agents, corn-based alcohol and neutral-pH surfactants. Cleaners and cleansers are available in scented varieties and in water-dilutable bulk packs, such as economical 800-, 1000- and 1250-ml cartons to refill Gojo hand-soap dispensers. Some other trusted names include Amrep, Clorox, Method, Seventh Generation and Simple Green.
Recyled Office Products
Miscellaneous paper products for everything from note-taking to file storage offer high levels of recycled content. Here are some examples:
• Note pads can easily utilize 40% or 50% recycled-paper content
• Self-stick notes in every imaginable color range from 30% to 100% recycled content
• Envelopes, notebooks, easel pads and adding-machine paper also range from 30% to 100%
• Index cards, heavy-duty mailers, hanging binders and calendars/planners are widely available with 10% to 30% recycled-content
• File folders, manila folders and pressboard classification folders (with tab-cut dividers for permanent document protection) exceed 30%
• Super-strong products such as "accordion" files (up to 100%), heavy-duty corrugated storage boxes (65%), and stackable reinforced-paper storage drawers (35%) round out the product selections
These products come from names that are second to none, including Bankers Box, Post-It, Smead, Pendaflex and Universal.
Many other paper products, such as hand towels, kitchen-towel rolls and toilet tissue provide additional opportunities for offices to go green. Single-, C- and multi-fold towels with 40%, 80% and even 90% recycled content make a difference. So do towel rolls with 40%, bath tissue with up to 90%, and facial tissue with up to 45% recycled content. Plus, there is no need to be concerned about quality, with names like Kimberly-Clark and Windsoft on these products.
Plastic products intended for repeated use can range from 20% to 100% recycled content. Round-ring binders and D-ring binders, for example, can have up to 45% recycled content to help reduce plastic consumption. Letter trays with 25% and other desktop accessories with 30% are readily available. Some desktop organizers have 50%; one type of clipboard has 96%. There is even a plastic-and-metal stapler that is made of 100% recycled content. Among the trusted names producing recycled-plastic accessories are Rubbermaid, Saunders and Scotch.
Writing instruments from Bic, Pentel, Sharpie and Wilson Jones provide a number of options. There are numerous types of smooth-writing pens and highlighters with as much as 18% to 82% recycled plastic content, plus they use acid-free nontoxic ink.
Consumable plastic products offer another opportunity to conserve. Products include drink cups/lids made from recycled plastic or compostable corn-based plastic, and trash bags made of biodegradable plastic. These are practical and cost-effective solutions from "companies that care." In fact, manufacturer Eco-Products goes a step further. Its zero-waste main office is powered largely by solar panels and its delivery trucks use natural gas or bio-diesel fuel.