Nearly everyone is looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. In the office, the mixture of personal wishes and the positive message that the business is committed to reducing its carbon footprint is driving companies to look for greener ways of doing business. In many sectors of industry energy usage is already under close scrutiny as a means to a “carbon reduction commitment” requiring companies to find ongoing reductions or face higher taxes. Another area to be considered to this end is the procurement of office supplies and other office consumables.
With the advent of the desktop computer and the hoped-for paperless office, most businesses still use a great deal of paper, for reports, letters, and communication of all kinds. The production of today’s papers does utilise less raw material and energy than in the past. Even so, a growing number of UK users are looking for recycled to meet their needs. There are several accreditation schemes that will ensure that the paper purchased meets the criteria that a business is looking for in green office supplies. Some of these are the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), the Blue Angel scheme, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Each has its own standards for evaluation the environmental impact of office products. A responsible provider of office supplies will be able to explain the main differences.
We can now recycle a far wider range of plastics, paper and card that ever before. Ten years ago all rubbish was tossed into one bin, which was sent all together to a landfill. That has changed. Now it makes far more sense to sort materials for disposal and send far more of it to recycling centres, rather than add it all to a waste heap. Waste collection companies are more and more capable of collecting sorted rubbish and having it recycled. It makes sense for responsible companies to encourage having their waste sorted on site. Many office supplies providers can make available suitable bins that help workers do that sorting.
Often, simple changes in the office environment can help reduce overall energy consumption, and this step can have a double benefit in reducing business running costs, too. A review of lighting could identify opportunities to change lighting, perhaps reducing overall light levels and using more efficient task lighting instead. It is also now becoming easier to obtain LED lights, which can often provide the same light as traditional fluorescent lights but use a third less energy. The bulbs will last longer too, further reducing waste.
Another area to look into is office machines. The carbon footprint (in terms of energy usage and in consumables) can vary widely from machine to machine. While we should expect a newer computer, printer, copier, or screen to be more environmentally friendly than one it is replacing, the various offerings should be checked. Some machines produce more heat than others which will add to the cost of cooling the office during warm weather. Consumables, such as printer ink cartridges can add a great deal to the amount of waste a machine produces, and some printers are far better than others in this regard. A responsible supplier can advise on the options and help businesses choose the best equipment for their needs, both environmental and for the business.
We are all still working toward a better understanding of the overall impact the things we consume have on our environment, including office supplies, as we go about our personal and our business lives. Certainly, today’s the regulatory environment is forcing us to look more closely as the government’s approach is to offer incentives for more environmentally friendly and green products, and penalties for bad ones. It is being done with all of us in mind. For our children’s sake, we need to be doing all we can.
Learn more about environmentally friendly office supplies. Stop by Paul Milbourn’s site where you can find out all about keyword #2 and what they can do for you.