Around the world, there’s a growing awareness of environmental issues. From climate change to single-use plastics, the impact we have on the planet is becoming more evident.
While some of this is beyond our means to influence directly, we can make alternative purchasing choices. Switching standard products for ethical or eco-friendly substitutions is a great place to start, particularly for eco-friendly office supplies.
If you’re looking to invest in green items for your home office, we’ve found some of the best sustainable products available today.
By some estimates, households and workplaces in the US throw away 1.6 billion plastic pens each year. Disposable products tend to appear cheaper than long-lasting alternatives. However, they are often made from non-recyclable, virgin (as in, not recycled) plastics. In short order, these items find their way to landfill sites across the country.
The Original Paper Pen is a sustainable alternative to cheap plastic pens. The Paper Pen is made from recyclable and biodegradable paper. There is a choice of fine or broad tip, while the nib is made of brass for ease of use. The ink is stored in a traditional plastic cartridge. However, the Paper Pen still represents a 70 percent reduction in plastic compared to the widely-used alternatives.
The company behind the writing instrument, Paper Pens Co., is based in Australia, although worldwide shipping is available. Traditional shipping could undermine the company’s ethics, but all shipping is guaranteed to be carbon neutral.
One of the most critical measures of a healthy work environment is air quality. While many offices and workspaces have air conditioning, that doesn’t always mean that the air is clean. Tracking your exposure throughout the day helps you make better decisions about when to perform specific tasks and separate interventions that work and those that don’t.
To keep track of your exposure to pollutants, consider the Plume Labs Flow 2 portable air quality monitor. This Bluetooth-enabled tracker uses multiple sensors to assess the cleanliness of the environment around you. A touch-enabled button on the front activates color-coded LEDs on the front, allowing you to judge the air quality quickly.
Syncing the Plume Labs Flow 2 with the companion smartphone app allows you to track exposure over time. The results can be viewed as an overall air quality index or particulate (PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and VOC). By maintaining a cleaner environment, other areas like health, well-being, and office maintenance will likely improve.
To learn more about the device, check out our review of the Plume Labs Flow 2.
If you’ve been searching for an eco-friendly office coffee machine, the truth is, there isn’t one. The materials, components, manufacture, and distribution of these machines come at an environmental cost. However, if you currently rely solely on takeout coffee, then using a machine at work means you can control the beans’ standard and reduce waste on items like disposable cups.
That said, you can minimize the impact of your daily coffee routine. Opting to brew your coffee manually using hot water and a French press significantly reduces your coffee’s energy requirement, components, and cost. The Bodum Chambord is an eight-cup French press ensuring energy-efficient brewing. The container is made of glass while the fixings, handle, and press are made from synthetic materials.
It’s always worth keeping in mind where your coffee is from and the supply chain’s ethics. Manually brewing your drinks gives you greater control over the coffee source, allowing you to choose an ethical, environmentally-conscious brand rather than accepting whatever is in the office or your local coffee shop uses.
Continuing with the coffee theme, disposable takeaway cups cause a huge environmental issue. The single-use nature of the containers makes them wasteful in any case. You’ll have noticed that most are made of cardboard. However, they can’t be recycled. To prevent spillage and leaks, the interior is often coated in a plastic film.
Rather than adding to the tally of coffee cups heading to landfills, purchase your own reusable coffee cup. One of the most popular eco-friendly options is the KeepCup Brew Cork Black. The brand is notable for being one of the first to develop containers that fit most barista-style coffee machines.
The Brew Cork Black is a premium variant of the company’s original offering. The cork grip makes the cup easy to handle, while the shaped glass vessel allows for easy pouring. The containers are machine washable, and the tops are interchangeable. KeepCup also offers custom-branded editions, should you want to invest in a set for the office.
In the post-pandemic age, all offices, even remote-working home offices, will need to pay close attention to their cleaning regimes. While many believe that the only way to combat bacteria is through harsh chemical cleaners, there’s an alternative.
The eco-friendly cleaning supplies producer, method, has a range of sprays, wipes, and surface cleaners that sterilize your workspace while minimizing the impact on the environment.
If you need a multipurpose cleaning wipe for the office, consider the method All-Purpose Lavender Wipes. These fragranced disposable wipes are biodegradable, not tested on animals, and ideal for wiping down keywords, mice, and other shared equipment.
6. Refurbished Computers
Although it’s a consideration for most consumers, there are very few sustainable or eco-friendly computers. In fact, UK-based publication Ethical Consumer doesn’t even list any laptop available today as a Best Buy. Desktop computers and laptops, like all electronics, have incredibly complex supply chains fraught with environmental issues and human rights abuses.
As such, it’s hard to recommend any computer or eco-friendly computer mouse. However, you do still have options. The best way to create a sustainable home office is to buy second-hand computing equipment. In most cases, it’s possible to find high-end refurbished items at a significant discount. This helps you boost your environmental credentials while also saving money.
Before investing, make a note of your requirements, the types of programs you are likely to use, and any hardware constraints. Then locate a second-hand item that fits the brief. You’ll also be able to increase your electronic equipment’s lifespan by choosing an easily repairable and upgradeable computer or laptop.
The Best Eco-Friendly Products for Your Needs
As more of us become aware of our purchases’ environmental and ethical implications, it’s natural to want to switch to more eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly home office supplies out there to get you started.
However, there are other changes you can make, as well. Instead of upgrading to the latest flagship smartphone, consider an ethical alternative. To find out more, check out our review of the Fairphone 3 ethical smartphone.
Read the full article: 6 Eco-Friendly Products You Need in Every Home Office