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Tips to green your workplace

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Are we willing to spend more for sustainability?

by Jeff Hix on 2009-02-12 05:01:17

As the recession deepens and as belts tighten and budgets are squeezed across all industries and demographics, how is green purchasing affected?  For those who worry if buying green is just another passing trend or fad to be tossed by the wayside in a down...

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12 Tips to Reduce Paper Consumption in the Office

by Jeff Hix on 2009-02-06 08:40:21

In June 1975, a Business Week story touted the "paperless office" as the wave of the future.   Fax machines and the advent of the Internet foretold a society in which the idea of logging forests for paper would itself be a concept headed for the trash bin.

Instead, over the next 35 years, we actually started using more paper, mostly because of technology demands for printing.  Home office paper use skyrocketed throughout the 80's and 90's right along with sales of smaller and more affordable printers.    Paper, paper forms and envelopes still account for more than 35% of wholesale revenue in the Office Supply industry.  (source: D&B's First Research "Office Supply and Paper Distribution" Industry profile quarterly update report 10/27/08).    And sadly, over 70% of the waste generated by offices is still paper.

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FAQ's and Facts about Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

by Jeff Hix on 2009-01-27 08:33:32

What is the difference between OEM, Remanufactured and Compatible Cartridges?

An original or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridge is an inkjet cartridge that carries the brand name of the manufacturer on it, usually the same as the printer manufacturer - for example, Epson, Canon, Hewlett Packard, etc.   They are usually the most expensive option for buying ink cartridges.  Compatible ink cartridges are also brand new, but manufactured by third party manufacturers who have nothing to do with the original printer manufacturers.   Remanufactured or refilled cartridges have been used once, and recycled and refilled with third party ink.   Compatible ink cartridges are typically available for Epson, Canon and Brother printers, while remanufactured cartridges are generally available for HP, Lexmark and Dell printers.   Both compatible and remanufactured cartridges are significantly less expensive than their OEM equivalents.

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How do you choose paper?

by Jeff Hix on 2009-01-15 11:01:12

How do you choose paper that is good for the environment and meets your needs?

Some things to keep in mind:

First things first, when looking to make an environmentally responsible paper purchase, you're looking for more than the recycled symbol.

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Use and Re-use

by Jeff Hix on 2009-01-15 10:52:21

Re-using products delays or avoids altogether their entry into the waste stream, so think refillable, rechargeable, not disposable, whenever possible.  

  • Challenge your associates to think of ways to give new life to used items, for instance, shredded waste paper makes great packing material.
  • Set up an area to store and exchange reusable office supplies such as folders and binders.

And if you can't reuse a product, there are usually others who can.    Visit Keep America Beautiful's website (http://www.kab.org/) for suggestions on exchange programs and other reuse strategies.

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Conserving Energy

by Jeff Hix on 2009-01-15 10:26:48

Of the $250 billion spent per year on powering computers worldwide, only about 15% of that power is spent computing - the rest is wasted idling.  40% of the energy used for electronics is used while these devices are turned off.   Obviously, just because a device is turned off or not in use, it doesn't mean that it isn't eating up electricity.  In fact, even when a computer is switched off, the surge protector can still draw energy - up to 75%!

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Questions to ask

by Jeff Hix on 2009-01-15 10:26:48

When making purchasing decisions, it pays to do a little homework.

Consider the following:

  • Is the product less hazardous?
  • Is it reusable or more durable?
  • Is it made from recycled materials?  Do we really need to buy a virgin product when the recycled version is just as good?
  • What happens to the product at the end of its life?  Can it be recycled?  Will the manufacturer take the product back?  Will it need special disposal?
  • Does it conserve energy or water?
  • Is it made from renewable plant-based raw materials?

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