Recycling continues to grow significantly across the country, and more people recycling means more interest in buying recycled products. There may be no product segment today that offers a greater selection of recycled, or “green” products than in office supplies. There are literally thousands of office products manufactured using recycled materials that are kinder and easier on our earth. In addition, most green office supplies are excellent quality, which provides recycled choices to small business that are gentle on the environment, and functional for the office.
The most common recycled office item searched for online is copy paper. Most offices number one consumable office supply is copy paper, and so people rightly think they can do more to help the environment buying copy paper that contains recycled material. Recycled paper making technology has improved to the point you can purchase very high quality and high brightness recycled paper without sacrificing performance. My favorite is Navigator Premium Recycled Paper (# SNANR1120), because it's high 95 brightness is actually better than most non-recycled copy paper, yet it contains 75% recycled material and 30% post consumer waste.
Other office supplies that are high use and have great recyclable options are binders like standard 3 ring vinyl binders for business. The good news is most of today's binders all contain recycled materials. Universal brand binders are my preference because of their value compared to national brands. Whether you buy a common 3 inch binder or go all the way up to a big 5 inch binder, Universal binders contain 48% recycled content, and 38% of that is post consumer waste!
Similar to binders, standard file folders and hanging folders now all contain recycled material, which is great for our environment. Most will contain a minimum of 10% recycled material. If you're looking for filing products that are even more beneficial for the planet, check out the line of Earthwise filing products from Esselte. Hanging folders in this line contain 100% recycled material, and 30% of it is post consumer waste, which is really the true measure for how “green” a product is. Earthwise also has file folders with a whopping 60% post consumer waste, and the folders are made with 100% recycled fibers.
Where is the best place to find a huge selection of green office supplies? I have two suggestions. First, never shop at mega-corporations like the huge Big Box office superstores. They no longer have the best prices, and the service is terrible. In addition, their selection of recycled products is not that great. Second, I buy my office supplies online, and always buy from an independent company that donates significantly to the community. I've actually discovered one that does good work by supporting great charities with 50% of their profits donated to charity. Search out those companies that practice conscious capitalism, and treat the environment, the community, their employees, vendors and customers with respect and honesty.
So we've covered the really easy product categories that have recycled alternatives. What about more obscure products. House of Dolittle makes a full line of desk calendars and appointment books for business that are 100% post consumer recycled material. Marcal is a great line of recycled paper towels and toilet tissue that are both 100% recycled with 60% post consumer waste, and are awesome because they are lint free.
Ampad makes a line of recycled writing pads, scratch pads and other office paper items called Envirotec that are great “green” alternatives. And, how about using rechargeable batteries for all those office electronics. It keeps hazardous batteries out of landfills, and really helps our earth. Last, how about recycled scanners – Kleen Earth brand scissors by Westcott. The plastic handles are 70% recycled plastic! There are really thousands of options. My favorite office products company has over 200 categories alone!
Recycling in homes and offices is growing, and that is a good thing. The majority of households recycle in some way. However, buying recycled products is lagging behind. The good news is today there are many great quality green office supply options that will let you do good work while helping our Mother Earth. Enjoy today, do a little research, and buy recycled products! It's a small way you can feel good about your choices, and help future generations.