Small products, big difference

Whether it’s biodegradable pens, binders and notepads made from recyclable materials, or environmentally friendly toner cartridges, little things add up when it comes to sustainability.

June 21, 2011
by Michael Power


Whether it’s biodegradable pens, binders and notepads made from recyclable materials, or environmentally friendly toner cartridges, little things add up when it comes to sustainability.

Taking note of sustainability

The Blueline MiracleBind Notebook is made from 30-percent post-consumer waste and vegetable oil-based ink. It has a twin wire binding with hard-rib embossed covers. There are 150 removable and re-positionable micro-perforated pages with ruled margins. The books include 10 telephone/address and note pages, an index sheet and self-adheisive tabs.

Staples Advantage offers a line of products under the name EcoEasy. Products under that brand must meet one or more environmental criteria, including being made with 100-percent post-consumer recycled content, third-party environmental certifications or standards, or those that use various other environmental design features. For example, Staples Advantage sells notebooks made from 80-percent sugarcane waste. The company’s Sustainable Earth eco-friendly notebooks have a heavyweight craft cover and two full-sized kraft pockets. The 91/2in x 6in, 200-page notebooks also feature a heavy-duty coil and perforated white college ruled sheets. They’re printed with vegetable and water based inks.

Leaving a mark

Pens offer another opportunity to promote sustainability. The Zebra Sarasa Eco Retractable Gel Pen is made from 81-percent post-consumer waste. The pens feature a soft, rubber grip for comfort. It’s spring-loaded and the clip easily attaches to notebooks binders. The pens are acid-free and come in boxes of 12.

As well, Paper Mate Biodegradable ball pens and mechanical pencils are made from renewable corn-based material. Most of the pen’s components are biodegradable in soil or compost within about a year. As well, BIC ecolutions ReAction Ball Pens are made with 74-percent recycled materials originally used in other manufacturing processes. The pens are retractable ballpoints with smudge-resistant writing.

Eco-friendly ink

Procurement managers looking for sustainable toner cartridges can check out HP’s “closed loop” process, which the company says is the first of its kind. Recycled plastic from HP ink cartridges is combined with recycled plastic bottle materials to create new Original HP ink cartridges.

The recycled plastic used in the Original HP ink cartridges has a carbon footprint up to 22-percent smaller than products with virgin plastic—even including the effects of collecting, transporting, and processing the empty cartridges and plastic bottles used to make the recycled PET.

HP has produced one billion Original HP ink cartridges containing post-consumer recycled plastic. Eight hundred million of those cartridges were manufactured with recycled plastic from the HP closed loop process.

Xerox also offers cartridges—such as its Enviro+ Print Cartridges—that feature reused hulks offering the same quality of prints while preventing still-useful cartridges from winding up in landfills.

Xerox said quality testing ensures the last print is as good as the first. The product features one cartridge per carton, with a capacity of 3,500 prints each. For those who have purchased a printer from another manufacturer, cartridges from Xerox are still compatible with those machines.

The toner-based printer cartridges are called Responsible Brand BioBlack Toner Cartridge. The product has a high “bio” content, the company said. Bio-based products are composed in whole or large part of renewable agricultural or forestry materials.

Staples Advantage also carries Sustainable Earth Laser Cartridges, which are remanufactured toner cartridges. The product is backed with a one-year quality warranty and is 100-percent post-production tested. b2b