4 Tips for Greener Home Office Supplies

Reduce_Reuse_Recycle-WebIt has never been easier to find Eco-friendly greener home office supplies than it is today.  Office supply stores, both brick and mortar and click and order, offer wide selections made from recycled – and recyclable  materials. Here are some tips that will help you be good and green, and also be good to your budget, both for the home and for the office.

  1. Our commonly used disposable pens and pencils can often be replaced not with more disposable pens and pencils, but with refillable versions. Today’s disposable pens would be difficult to offset with refillable, but when these items are worn out, consider tossing the plastic barrel into your plastic recycle bin rather than the trash – headed for the landfill. But mechanical pencils with replacement leads are quite reasonable, and, in many cases, pretty classy. The nice part is, if you are taking notes in a meeting and the point breaks, just a quick top on top, and you have new tip to write with without the distraction of getting up and sharpening the pencil.
  2. Paper can be a major office expense, even for small offices like mine. Today, getting office paper with a high post-consumer content may save you money, but it is definitely good for the environment. One of the ways I save on paper is to buy by the case rather than one or two reams at a time. Not only is it usually less expensive this way, but it will save you trips to the office supply store to save on gas – a good thing… and it saves your productivity as you can refill your printer more quickly as you don’t need to trash your daily schedule to dash to the office supply store when you are against a deadline, the paper is right there. And if you have the space, when the recycled paper is on sale, stock up (again, if you have the space to store it).
    Also, instead of tossing out printing mistakes (I’ve certainly made my share), save them for printing out draft copies. I’ve always found that reading on the screen is good, but for the final look to see how something really flows, reading a printout is best… but it doesn’t always have to be on fresh paper – using the backside of used paper works fine. If you can, designate one paper tray just for scrap paper and keep it near the printer.  Your tests and mistakes can go directly into this tray, ready for use.  Quickly the “draft tray” into your printer and print away. Then, when it’s time for the final copy, switch to new stock and away you go.

Let’s talk a bit about proofreading. The first choice is always to have someone else proofread your documents – you will not notice mistakes because you put them there in the first place. But when that isn’t possible, here are a couple of helpful tips.

  1. Instead of printing out first drafts for proofreading, you can try reading your document directly from the computer screen… but read it out loud.  Though it’s very easy to miss mistakes when you’re scanning a document on the screen, reading aloud slows you down enough to let you easily see the errors – and since you are reading on the screen, you can fix it right then and there. Also, reading aloud lets you actually hear the rhythm of the copy closer to how your reader is likely to experience it. Again, since you are working on the computer for this proof run, you can fix spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and actual content to, “make it RIGHT!” So for these early proof runs, you save paper and time since you are working on screen where you can make corrections as necessary as you go.
  2. Now here’s a fun and effective trick. Once you’ve read and edited the copy so it flows and reads well on the screen, go ahead and print it out on your supply of “draft” paper. NOW… instead of reading it forwards, read it word for word backwards – that’s right, read it from the end to the beginning. You’ll be amazed how many spelling and punctuation errors you catch this way.

Once you’ve gone through your copy several times, forwards and backwards (maybe this is where the old adage came from!), print it out as close as possible to the final form. At this point, there should be very few, if any, mistakes, and you will have used a lot less paper… good for your bottom line, good for our planet.

When you are looking to buy “green” products to use in your office, look not only to items made from recycled materials, but also items made to be recycled… and items that are locally made. Here in the U.S., Guided Products have always prided themselves on doing exactly that, creating their products mostly from 85% post-consumer, 15% post-industrial materials. This means that not only is it better for the earth when you buy, you can be certain that when it is time to dispose of the products, you can safely put them into your own recycle stream with no worries. By all means, check them out.

Responsible, American Made Products - Guided


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