Whether you are buying for your home, office or business, greener purchases can save you money, help the environment, and reduce carbon emissions. Knowing what constitutes a green product can get confusing, but a few simple guidelines can help.
Pick products made from recycled materials. Look for more energy-efficient computers and other electronic devices with a credible third-party certification such as ENERGY STAR®. Below are some resources that will make it easier for you to purchase more sustainable products.
Green Your Paper Products
Is your company or organization still purchasing virgin paper (paper with no recycled content) for the office? Take a moment to work with your procurement folks to phase out the use of virgin paper and adopt a minimum standard of 30 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content for all office supplies. Choosing recycled paper has a multitude of environmental benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and protection of biodiversity and native forests.
Ideally, all offices should be using 100 percent recycled paper. However, since 30 percent typically does not cost more than virgin paper, and 100 percent does have a cost premium, take a baby step and start with 30 percent. If you implement double-side copying, typically you can save enough to offset the additional cost of 100 percent recycled paper.
Buy ENERGY STAR® and EPEAT®
Designer labels for the environment? Yes! When it comes time to buy new appliances or computers for the office, buy a device with the ENERGY STAR® or EPEAT® label. ENERGY STAR, a program of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. EPEAT is a comprehensive environmental rating that helps identify greener computers and other electronic equipment.
Buying these green labels is an easy way to reduce energy use.
Buy Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
Save substantial amounts of money, keep toner cartridges out of our landfills, and reduce your environmental impact by purchasing remanufactured toner cartridges. Refurbished cartridges work well, reduce waste, and save money - 30 to 60 percent less than Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges (the ones made by the company that makes your printer). Many vendors will collect the spent cartridges for recycling directly from your office.
Buy Green Cleaning Products
You spend many hours at work. Protect your health and the health of your employees by choosing non-toxic, green cleaning supplies. If you hire an outside cleaning service, request that they use environmentally-friendly products.
Buy LED Task Lights
For your desk or task lighting, choose high-performance, low-energy LED lights. While they might seem pricier at first glance, they have a longer life and use much less energy than traditional bulbs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. LED technology produces light in a whole new way, surpassing the quality and efficiency of existing lighting technologies, such as fluorescent and incandescent.