Guide to Green Office – Greening Office Product Line by Jessica Hodges
This is part II of our 5 part Guide to Green Office. This guide contains ways of measuring your environmental impacts as well as a checklist for things one could do in terms of greening one’s product line.
A. Measuring the Environmental Impact of Switching to Green Products
- To determine the environmental impacts of various types of paper in terms of energy used, greenhouse gases and other air pollutants emitted, waste water volume and pollutants discharged, and solid waste generated, enter the appropriate data in the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator: http://www.environmentaldefense.org/papercalculator/. This website provides charts and graphs showing the impacts of different types of paper (freesheet, groundwood, corrugated, and paperboard, etc.) with different recycled contents.
- A pallet of copier paper (20-lb. sheet weight or 20#) contains 40 cartons at 50 pounds each and weighs one ton (2000 lbs). Each ton of such virgin paper (no post-consumer content) uses 24 trees.
- One carton (10 reams) of virgin copier paper uses 0.6 trees.
- One tree makes 16 2/3 reams of copy paper, or 8333 sheets.
Source: Conservatree http://www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml .
(2) Computer notebooks, desktops and monitors.
- See the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT): http://www.epeat.net/FastBenefits.aspx
B. Increasing Your Use of Green Products
Using green products in your own operations (Check all that currently apply or interest you).
- Paper and plastic products with significant quantities of post-consumer recycled content
- Re-manufactured products (e.g., ink and laser toner cartridges)
- Electrical products that are solar powered (e.g., calculators) or certified as energy efficient by Energy Star
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient lighting
- Products that are reusable, rewritable, refillable, rechargeable, more durable or repairable
- Products that are recyclable
- Cleaners and solvents that are nontoxic; non-VOC (volatile organic compound); biodegradable; water-based; ammonia-, phosphate-, and chlorine free; and derived from renewable resources rather than petroleum
- Detergents, cleaners and other liquids in concentrate, which minimizes packaging
- Writing instruments with non-toxic inks or other marking fluids
- Furniture, carpets, and paints that do not emit harmful levels of VOCs from adhesives or finishes
- Products made from plant-based materials
- Compostable items, such as garbage and grocery bags
- Multi-purpose electronic equipment (e.g., combination printer-scanner-fax machine)
- Bins for collecting recyclable materials
- Power strips and other devices that enable you to manually or automatically cut power when not needed
- Products certified by reputable third parties as being environmentally superior in specific ways, such as those noted above (See the Green Glossary for a listing of some popular certifications.)