In the Copy and Supply Rooms
Recycle Paper Products
Paper and paperboard account for 25% of municipal solid waste. Recycling paper products—including newspapers, paperboard boxes (like envelope and tissue boxes), cardboard boxes, junk mail, and office paper—saves money. That's because recycling paper fiber is cheaper than growing, harvesting, and processing trees. Every ton of office paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 322 gallons of gasoline.
Change Your Settings
Today, there are over 170 million imaging machines (copiers, printers, scanners, all-in-one devices, fax machines, and mailing machines) in U.S. buildings. Together, these units consume 30 billion kWh each year, which is more than 1% of the electricity consumption in U.S. buildings. If all imaging equipment in the United States was ENERGY STAR, we could save more than $32 million in electricity costs. Activating standby settings on equipment such as copiers, laser printers, fax machines, and others can reduce energy usage by diminishing the power when the device is not in use. Also set equipment to “duplex,” allowing printing on both sides, which can cut paper cost nearly in half.
Reuse Office Supplies
When choosing office supplies, choose those that can be reused. Some items, like refillable pens and pencils, folders, and envelopes, can be reused many times. Also, find out if your office printers will accept remanufactured toner cartridges. By using these or by recycling cartridges, you can help eliminate waste.
Buy Recycled-Content Products
Buy office supplies made from, or packaged in, recycled materials. “Recycled content” means the product was manufactured with recycled materials, collected either from a recycling program or from waste recovered during normal manufacturing. Buying products with recycled content makes recycling sustainable. When you purchase recycled-content products, you increase the demand for recycled materials. As a result, manufacturers continue to use recycled materials in their products, and recyclers continue to have a market for their materials. You can usually spot products made from recycled paper, plastic, and other materials by reading the labels. Give preference to items with acceptable percentages of recycled content, especially post-consumer. Learn more about purchasing recycled-content products.
Donate or Recycle Electronics and Recycle Batteries
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources. Your secondhand electronics can become valuable tools for schools or nonprofits. Additionally, look for opportunities to use rechargeable batteries. Most can be recharged up to 1,000 times, and then recycled. Visit Call2Recycle.org to find a battery drop-off site near you.