Going Green in the office has never been easier with the help of the following green office supply stores. Not just offering "green" office products claiming to be composed of recycled content, the following green office supply stores make social and environmental sustainability their top priority, with the accreditations to prove it! Remember, just because an office product says it's green doesn't mean it's as green as it should be. Always verify your green office products recycled pre/post consumer content.
It should go without saying, but we'll say it anyways: Using green office products is paramount to running a green office. If you work in an office or manage an office, you should know just how much product is used and waste generated through the typical office work flow, so to speak. Besides electricity usage, office supplies, are the chief culprit in giving behind-the-scenes business operations a pretty high Carbon footprint. Of course, not every office is going to use up the same amount of paper, ink, pens, staples and such forth. Some offices, especially home offices, hardly use any products for their main source of business at all, for they are entirely internet based and/or primarily use computers to handle daily business affairs.
Even then, no office - no matter how small - can go by without using paper, printer ink or other common office "necessities" to run a business. Green office products primarily consists of paper - whether it be printing paper, envelopes, note pads, index cards etc. - computer ink and toners, and writing utensils like pens, pencils and highlighters. Obviously, there are plenty of more supplies that get used up in the office, however, paper products, writing utensils and printer ink are the one's that generate the largest footprint, and as such, should be obtained and implemented first into the daily operations of a budding green office.
Now, before you just start buying anything that is labeled with the word "green", there are some things you should know about green office products. First and foremost, some green office products are more green than others. Sure, there are standards, but there is no law limiting to how the terms "green" and "eco friendly" get thrown around. Some office supply stores will cite something as eco-friendly, just because the company donates to a non-profit tree conservation fund or purchases Carbon certificates, while another product might be called "green" simply because it can be recycled. This doesn't necessarily mean it has been recycled - and with that I hope you get my drift.
In fact, the extent of what makes some green office products more green than others is directly related to the recycled content in the product itself. Paper is especially tricky when it comes to being green, for you could find paper ranging from 10% recycled content to 100% - and guess what? They will both be labeled as "green". Even paper that contains no recycled content whatsoever can still be packaged with the iconic green recycle logo - implying that it can be recycled. There is no law governing the use of this symbol. Now, whether or not the paper contains pre-consumer content (biproduct waste from manufacturers) or post-consumer waste (waste of the product itself), does not matter so much as using a paper with a higher percentage of recycled content overall. However, if you have a choice, go with paper that has more post-consumer recycled content, as this gives more incentive to recycle.
As for writing utensils, the best green office products are refillable, mechanical pencils made of recycled plastic and refillable and/or biodegradable pens with non-toxic, eco-friendly ink. What is eco-friendly ink you ask? Well, not to get too technical, a good starting point is to contain no more than 5% volatile organic compounds (voc's) and petroleum distillates, and should be composed of at least 60% renewable, bio-based materials. Water-based and vegetable based acrylics are the best. Just because its soy ink does not mean its green! First off, most soy inks contain no more than 10% soy ink to being with. And remember, over 92% of all soybean crops are now genetically modified, which can cause great harm to both the environment and human health. EPA standards aren't the best gauge either! As for printing ink, using refillable inkjet cartridges is obviously the best route to go, while laser printers should be stocked with remanufactured laser cartridges with eco-friendly toner if possible.
Other office products that can stand to be given the title of green office product are binders, clip boards, CD and DVD cases/holders and folders. Again, it all comes down to how much recycled content makes up each item. In the case of the aforementioned, the most green office products you will find are those that are made up of 100% recycled content, and of those that are made from paper products and/or wood (meaning anything that comes from trees), the highest certification of sustainability is FSC Certified. FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council, and ensures that non-slow growth trees are grown, harvested and manufactured into wood byproducts in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.