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Spring Greening: How to Make Your Office More Environmentally Friendly

If you’re like millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, you head to an office every weekday. Whether you’re the owner of your company or a gung-ho member of accounting, you can do a lot to green up your office with the right suggestions at the right time. Even if you work from home, your workspace could probably tread lighter on the ecosphere.

This spring could be just the right time to implement a few easy changes in the name of greenness. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.

Green Marketing Materials

Marketing is a crucial endeavor for any company. After all, if you don’t let people know you exist, how are they supposed to come to you for products and services?

Just because advertising is important, however, doesn’t mean that clogging up the environment with disposable items is a good idea. When you choose marketing materials, try to steer clear of paper and plastic, instead opting for reusable products. Wine and beer bags, for instance, last for ages – and make the perfect vessel for client and customer gifts (see below). Rip stop bags are strong and durable, and clients carry them around for years.

Best of all? When you leverage reusable marketing materials, you don’t have to replace them all the time. Your bags will be out there in the world for months or years to come, flashing your logo for all to see. Considering each bag gets almost 6,000 impressions per lifetime, more than both billboards and office supplies combined, it’s an excellent investment. Environmental win!

Reusable Lunch Boxes

We all know that bringing your own lunch is good for you, but did you know it’s good for the environment as well? When you bring lunch, you can pack it in reusable containers, bring metal forks and spoons, and use cloth napkins. You immediately eliminate a lot of the waste associated with cafeteria, takeout or street food. Plus, when you give your employees reusable lunch bags – think the Super Snack Small or the Fold-Up Drawstring Cooler Backpack – they can tote that meal around in style.

Green Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs might be familiar, but they’re far from the best choice. LEDs, CFLs (conpact fluorescent lamps) and halogens all make much better use of energy, often using between 25 and 80 percent less. They last longer, too, so talk to your bulb vendor or building super about getting friendlier lighting. If you’re responsible for purchasing, this becomes even easier. Even if you do get better bulbs, though, turning them off is still important for the environment, so make sure everyone in the office shares the policy.

Ecofriendly Office Supplies

Stapleless Staplers

Gasp! A staple … without a staple? Yes, it’s true. Staplers these days crimp paper and fold it over instead of using a metal clip to keep pages together. No more metal needed.

Refillable Pens

Pens are a must, but those plastic casings sure add up over time. A small investment will buy you refillable pens across the office, to which you can add new cartridges or refill with bottled ink when they run out. Make a policy of giving out pens for the holidays and special events so that employees aren’t compelled to carry all of those awesome pens home.

Supplies Made with Post-Consumer Content

Buying supplies made from recycled materials is greener for obvious reasons – you aren’t responsible for the harvesting of new natural resources. You’d be surprised by how many items can be had post-consumer style. Think paper clips, pen cups, picture frames, even pens.

Reduce and Recycle Office Supplies

Many office supplies can be recycled. Manufacturers usually accept toner and ink cartridges for refill, while even items such as scissors and staples can be taken to recycling centers as metal waste.

When it comes to office supplies that can’t be recycled, such as rubber bands, try to use them less altogether. Most offices don’t really have a huge need for rubber bands, after all, so reconsider that auto-purchase this time around and ask yourself – do you need it, really?

Environmentally Sound Printing and Technology

In the paperless age, you really don’t have much of an excuse not to make at least some updates to your printing setup. Buy recycled paper – now available in pretty much every shade and texture under the sun – and where possible, avoid it altogether by switching to electronic files. While you don’t want to have to track employee paper use, make it clear that the whole office has a goal of cutting down paper use to a certain number of reams per month, for instance.

As for tech, maintain an office-wide policy of turning machines off when not in use. Even sleeping computers, tablets and printers can suck up energy. They’re known as “vampire” devices, which means that simply by being plugged in and doing nothing, they’re using Mother Nature’s precious resources. No Bueno.

Update your computers regularly. That’s not to say you should get a new model every year, which would be wasteful. But when you do by new setups, make sure they’re the latest models, which are always more energy-efficient than previous iterations. Don’t toss the old devices or even donate them to Good Will – which often can’t make use of them and will trash them for you. Instead, take them to a recycling center, where they can be refurbished or stripped for the many useful parts they still contain.

Reusable Client Gifts

One of the best ways to green up your office is to start buying green gifts for clients. If you guessed we’re about to suggest reusable bags, you must be … well, if not a genius, then at least paying decent attention. We believe strongly in the power of reusable bags to make clients happy while making the world happy at the same time.

Did you know that more than 600 billion plastic bags are produced every year? That amounts to 160,000 used globally every second. Oceans become saturated with toxins, and animals can die simply from ingesting too much plastic. When you add those numbers up, that’s a criminal amount of non-biodegradable, environmentally devastating amount of waste. The world just can’t afford that.
Luckily, you don’t have to add to the problem in your client gifts. Instead of heavily cellophaned gift baskets, for instance, you can instead give your gifts in reusable bags emblazoned with your logo in beautifully clear detail. You can also avoid giving out plastic or paper bags (the latter of which is not that much better than the former) at trade shows and conventions by instead offering reusable bags such as our cotton and laminated options. If you do opt for paper, make sure it’s a highly durable version such as our Kraft bags.

Want to learn more about how to green up your office through reusable bags? Feel free to get in touch and request a free quote today. Or just follow along on the blog to get awesome ecofriendly ideas on the regular. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your office become the greenest version of itself!

Douglas Lober

Author: Douglas Lober

Douglas Lober grew up in Southern California and is an environmentalist at heart. He donates his time and finances to helping children better understand how they can become fine stewards of the Earth. He is he co-Founder and Chief Sales Professional at Reusethisbag.com with over 15 years experience as an overseas importer and exporter of fine eco-friendly promotional items.

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