Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product.
1. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk makes sense for a variety of
reasons. You’ll save money over the long-
haul. You’ll make less trips to the office
supply store. You’ll also cut down on
packaging such as cardboard boxes and
plastic bags. Ordering supplies in bulk
online will also get you lower or free shipping.

2. Reuse and Recycle Packaging
Regardless of how large your order is, you’re
going to end up with packaging to dispose.
Use Earth911 to find out where to recycle
packaging. Before you do, though, consider
ways it can be reused:

Cardboard boxes can be used to ship
packages or move items around, and they
can be collapsed when not in use to take up
little space.
Plastic bags, bubble wrap and packing
peanuts can be used to store and protect
valuables.

3. Spring for the Warranty
When you buy a new computer monitor or
other electronic device, the warranty may not
seem like a smart investment. But warranties
let you repair your electronics instead of
buying new ones, meaning less waste is
created. Plus, the cost of the warranty will
surely be less than buying a new product in
two or three years.

4. Search for Scrap
Paper clips are prime candidates for reuse,
but eventually you may find they are ready for
disposal. The upside of this is that they are
made of steel, which is one of the most
valuable recyclable products. The same
goes for staples, which you can remove from
unneeded paper and recycle.

These products can be recycled as scrap
metal with your steel cans. If you are
searching for other office supplies made of
steel, pull out a magnet. If your metal is
attracted to magnets, it can be recycled as
scrap metal (provided that it’s entirely made
of metal). Be careful -  don’t get that magnet
near your electronic equipment, or you’ll
need to recycle more then just paper clips!

5. Refill Your Ink Cartridges
It takes a gallon of oil to manufacture one
inkjet cartridge. You can significantly reduce
this amount by having your cartridges refilled
instead of buying a new one every time.
Depending on the cartridge, you may get up
to 10 uses by refilling the same cartridge.
This will also save up to 75 percent of the
cost of a new cartridge. Find an ink cartridge
refiller using Earth911.

6. Monitor Paper Usage
According to the EPA, each employee in a
typical business office generates 1.5 pounds
of waste paper per day. Here are several
ways to trim that number down:

Print/make copies only when necessary
Use a removable stick-on label for your fax
cover sheets
Set printers and copiers to print on both
sides of paper
You can also look for paper with the highest
percentage of recycled content. This gives
you even more reason to recycle office paper.

7. Know Your Plastic Code
You may be surprised how many of your
office supplies are made of plastic, from
loose-leaf binders to CD jackets or the
aforementioned packaging. Before you figure
out how to recycle these materials, you need
to know what type of plastic resin was used
to make them. Check for a number inside a
recycling symbol on your plastics, then use
Earth911 to find out where to recycle that
plastic.

8. Set Up an Office Recycling Program
If you have curbside recycling at home, why
not at the office as well? After all, the EPA
estimates that up to 40 percent of our
municipal solid waste comes from
businesses.

Setting up an office recycling program will
help divert much of your waste from landfills,
and could save your company money on
hauling fees for other office trash. If your
whole office gets involved, you may be
surprised how much you can recycle. Check
out Earth911’s Business site for more eco-
friendly business ideas as well.

This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight”
series, where we showcase eight ways to
green your life in various areas.

by Trey Granger on September 29th, 2008
8 Ways to Green office supplies
IKEA iconic reusable ‘Big Blue Bag’
.59 cents each
Local Grocery store bags
$1.00 each
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