Many companies these days are getting on the Green bandwagon. If a company is marketing their products or services as being environmentally friendly, they sometimes scramble to find office supplies that back up their message. Turning to the big box office supply companies doesn't always give you the best selection of recycled office products. Most companies find what they are looking for at smaller “Mom & Pop" type office supply stores; which are few and far between these days. These smaller stores know that they have to provide better competitive advantage to their larger competitor that will beat them almost every time on price. Some of these small office supply stores have turned to environmentally friendly office supplies to maintain that edge.
There are some great recycled papers that have a higher post consumer recycled content than what the bigger companies are carrying. Living Tree Paper out of Eugene, Oregon has some great papers that are 90% recycled and 10% Hemp/Flax. We are starting to see pencils made of recycled paper. One of the biggest problems has been with vinyl. Vinyl or PVC is a petroleum based product that is toxic to manufacture and dispose. When your binder's rings bend or your cover rips, it's off to the landfill where it will be thousands of years before that material can break down. Manufacturers really need to think through the impact their materials have on the environment. There are many materials like corrugated cardboard, non toxic chip board, recycled bending chip and even bioplastics that would make excellent materials for office supplies and recycled binders .
Office supply stores that carry these types of products will give them the competitive edge over their competition, as well as, give them the satisfaction that they are doing their part for the environment.
Brad Hole is President of Sustainable Group; a Seattle based manufacturer of environmentally friendly office supplies that include Rebinder and Repocket. http://www.sustainablegroup.net