recycled paperIn celebration of Earth Day this Sunday, Office Depot has released the company’s Top Ten Tips for A Greener Worklife. If small businesses improve their environmental performance by checking off as many items from the list as possible, they could save trees, clean the air and save on energy costs.

1. Go for “greener options” in the products you buy. Today’s greener options go way beyond recycled paper. Lots of products today are cost-effective and high quality, but use fewer chemicals, less energy and less materials resulting in lower waste. Try biodegradable packing peanuts, Foray low-odor and non-toxic dry-erase markers, and recycled scissors at and through their Green Book catalog.

2. Recycle your empty ink and toner cartridges. Almost eight cartridges are thrown out in the U.S. every second of every day. That’s almost 700,000 cartridges per day. Instead, recycle your ink and toner cartridges at Office Depot. Customers bringing in a used cartridge for recycling will receive a free ream of recycled paper, a $3 coupon, or the opportunity to donate $3 to a charity for each cartridge.

3. Buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. Office Depot brand remanufactured cartridges cost on average 15 percent less than the national brand equivalent and come with a 100 percent no-risk quality guarantee. Each remanufactured cartridge keeps approximately 2.5 lbs. of metal and plastic out of landfills and saves about a half gallon of oil.

4. Use digital storage solutions to cut down on paper. New technology is allowing businesspeople to store more information using less space, less paper and creating less waste. Data storage devices such as CDs, flash drives, and zip drives are great alternatives to paper. The Ativa 8G Flash Drive is equivalent to approximately 320,000 pages or 640 reams of paper.

5. Recycle, recycle, recycle. When using paper in the office, print on both sides of the sheet and recycle the paper when you are finished. Today, only half of the paper used in North America is recycled. By recycling one ton of paper, you save 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water, and more than 3 cubic yards of landfill space.

6. Always purchase Energy Star qualified products. Energy Star computers, printers, monitors and other business machines can help conserve up to 75 percent of your electricity compared to standard equipment. By switching to “sleep mode” while not in use, these products can save both energy and money!

7. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. Switching from incandescent bulbs to energy efficient compact fluorescents can deliver up to 75 percent more energy savings and last more than 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Even better — these bulbs fit standard fixtures and deliver great natural light.

8. Unplug technology when not in use. Up to 75 percent of the electricity used to power office equipment is consumed while the product is turned off but still plugged in — including phone chargers. It’s easy to avoid wasting power and save money by plugging your office machines into an Ativa Power Strip that can be conveniently switched off at the end of the day.

Foray non-toxic markers

9. Buy Renewable Energy Credits to “offset” your energy use. By purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), businesses can now effectively offset some or all of the carbon dioxide their company emits. For example, in 2006, Office Depot bought 76,000 megawatts of renewable energy (solar and wind power), which is equivalent to 12 percent of the company’s annual electricity use that same year.

10. Use reusable mugs instead of disposable items. If just one person fills three paper cups of coffee a day, five days a week, for one year, that’s equal to over 600 coffee cups that end up in the landfills. Help to avoid that waste by using ceramic mugs and take advantage of the opportunity to display your company name or logo.

Office Depot produces an independently verified environmental stewardship report, maintains a paper purchasing policy, invests towards greenhouse gas and solid waste reduction with integrated recycling programs. Check out some of their recycled products.

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