“Green” Office Supplies

Ami Voeltz
Do It Green! Minnesota

Parts excerpted from Going Green: A Guide to Becoming An Environmentally Friendly Business Without Going Broke, www.tub.com

When buying office supplies, it is important to think about durability, energy, natural resource use, recycled content and recyclability, toxicity, biodegradability and packaging.

Make a list of all the major supplies your company buys and find ones made out of recycled materials. See the web sites below for companies that sell “green” office products.

Here are ideas for “green” office supplies in any area of business:

  • Buy products that are more durable, repairable and have a warranty.
  • Set up a reuse system, or use an existing system, that moves unwanted items from one department or business to another. (See: HOUSE & HOME: Building).
  • Buy rebuilt, remanufactured, or refurbished products for your office interior and machinery.
  • Buy durable, rather than disposable supplies such as:
    • plates, silverware, coffee cups, glasses & silverware
    • reusable coffee filters
    • linens, courier bags
    • rechargeable batteries or solar-run items

Office Products:

  • Buy erasable boards
  • Buy self-stick fax addressing labels
  • Use plain, not glossy, paper in fax machines
  • Use electronic software presentations
  • Buy solar-powered calculators and other devices
  • Buy refillable pens, pencils and tape dispensers
  • Reuse envelopes and bags
  • Buy high recycled content or post-consumer content and non-chlorine bleached tissue
  • Reuse file folders and binders
  • Buy refillable and/or remanufactured toner cartridges
  • Make double-sided copies
  • Buy non-chlorine bleached, high recycled content paper, or paper made from hemp, kenaf or other tree-free alternatives
  • Reuse paper printed on one side
  • Buy recycled computer disks
  • Buy energy efficient computers, photocopiers and other appliances
  • Rent, lease or contract for services instead of buying infrequently used equipment

Food Service:

  • Buy reusable cafeteria dishware
  • Reduce the use of single-use cups
  • Use beverage dispensers for juice, soft drinks, etc.
  • Purchase products in reusable, refillable or returnable containers
  • Purchase products in bulk
  • Purchase products with less packaging
  • Reduce the use of aerosol spray cans
  • Buy non-toxic cleaning supplies in recyclable or refillable containers
  • Install water-saving faucets
  • Buy energy efficient appliances
Read Up

Going Green: A Guide to Becoming an Environmentally-Friendly Business, 415-616-6800 or www.tub.com

EnvironMentors Advisor: Prevent Waste, Produce Profit, Contact North East Business Assoc. to receive a free copy: 800-657-3843 or 651-296-3417

Office Waste Reduction Kit & Source Reduction Manual & instructional video, Contact the MN Office of Environmental Assistance for a free copy: 612-789-4352 or 800-887-6300

Act Locally

Cartridge Care – Ink Cartridge Recyclers
Roseville, MN 612-331-7757

Minnesota Technical Asst. Program (MnTAP)
McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak St., Suite 350
Minneapolis, MN 612-624-1300

MN WasteWise
30 E. 7th St.
Suite 1700
St. Paul, MN 651-292-4650

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