How to Recognise Eco-Friendly Products

  How to Recognise Eco-Friendly Products How do you know if products are eco-friendly? Going green is a way of life nowadays that can have a huge impact on the world we live in. Whether you run your own company and want to reduce your business’s footprint or you are just trying to reduce your […]

 

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How do you know if products are eco-friendly?

Going green is a way of life nowadays that can have a huge impact on the world we live in. Whether you run your own company and want to reduce your business’s footprint or you are just trying to reduce your own impact while in your place of work, choosing eco-friendly office supplies can make a real difference. Green supplies are readily available and make great alternatives to traditional products. 

While some offices implement recycling programs in order to cut down on waste, some are unavoidable. It’s virtually impossible for an office to not use paper, printer ink, folders, etc. When you do need to use those products, choosing environmentally friendly ones is a great way to reduce the ecological impact.

The simplest way of recognising eco-friendly products is to look for these icons on the product or its packaging, the most popular icons are the green leaf which indicates a green/eco-friendly product and the more familiar triangle, which confirms recycled materials or products.

 

See our guide to buying eco-friendly office supplies

Paper

When shopping for copy paper, look for an option that is made using a large percentage of recycled materials. Paper made from 100% post-consumer waste is a good choice. Also, look for paper that is chlorine-free and made from renewable resources. When you buy unbleached paper made from post-consumer waste, it may not be as bright white as the other options on the shelf. However, recycled copy paper is still high in quality, it reduces energy consumption, solid waste and leaves a smaller environmental footprint. 

There are eco-friendly versions of the other paper products your office needs as well. Whether you are shopping for files, folders, envelopes, or any other paper product, look for one that is made from recycled materials. You can also look for products that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified. They tend to be slightly more expensive, but, when you buy FSC-Certified office supplies, you can rest assured knowing that the product supports the growth of responsible forest management and sustainable practices. 

Both FSC and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certifications ensure that timber used doesn’t originate from protected forests to produce certified products. This includes ensuring that species are protected and not used for production or go towards deforestation and that there is no negative impact on the local communities.

Icons for FSC and PEFC

Files, folders & binders

There are plenty of environmentally friendly products available made from 100% recycled paper, and these are also 100% recyclable. There are punched pockets that are 100% recyclable and made from 80% recycled PP (polypropylene) material. These are, therefore, reusable and recyclable too; providing true value for the environment. 

Books & pads

There is a huge choice of these products available but bear in mind that although the pages are from 100% recycled paper, the outer cover may not be. These are still described as eco-friendly due to the recyclable content of the overall product. Look for the icons to confirm.

Envelopes

Eco-friendly envelopes are made from around 60% recycled paper and are fully biodegradable post-use. There are also products made from 100% recycled paper which would display both the leaf and the recycling icons. 

Printer ink & toner

No matter what type of printer your business uses, you will need to replace the ink or toner regularly. Unfortunately, cartridges can have a huge impact on the environment. Instead of throwing away your empties, recycle them with us and the funds received from recycling are donated to our chosen charity, SeeSaw. 

When you are looking for replacement ink cartridges, shop for recycled or remanufactured options. Recycling keeps millions of empty cartridges out of landfills and ensures that the ink contained doesn’t spill out into the soil. Many cartridges are now designed with the environment in mind.

Ink & toner finder

Writing pens

While a lot of pens are made from plastic, eco-friendly pens can include a mid to high percentage of recycled materials, therefore, these are still classed as environmentally kind pens. The percentage varies on the kind of writing instrument and the ink. When buying pens, look for the icons to confirm your preferences.

Janitorial supplies

More and more sustainable janitorial products are coming onto the market now, many are biodegradable after use and recyclable (apart from some toilet rolls!) so a win-win option. Eco-friendly toilet rolls made from 100% sustainable bamboo are ideal for those with sensitive skin. Some eco-products may still be in non-recyclable packaging, but these are being improved rapidly. 

Tape & adhesives

Plant-based sellotape is now a thing! It is 100% plastic-free, and it comes on a biodegradable core. There are other green alternatives too, some with lower renewable materials but with fully recyclable packaging.

Bin bags

While not a typical “office supply” product, most workplaces go through a lot of bin bags. By making the switch to compostable or biodegradable bin bags, you can limit the amount of plastic that you are sending to the landfill. It’s also good to look for bags that are made using post-consumer recycled materials. After all, there really isn’t any need for bin bags to be made from new plastic! 

Conclusion

Buying eco-friendly office supplies is a great way to reduce your own or your company’s environmental impact. When you’re browsing products spend a little more time looking around to find options that are manufactured with eco-friendliness in mind. Some may be slightly higher in price, but self-satisfaction and the decreased environmental impact are a great return on your investment. 

View our top eco-friendly and recycled janitorial products

View our top eco office supplies

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