Green Purchasing 101

Regardless of the sophistication of your green purchasing initiative, at some point it all comes down to finding great products that balance price, performance, and sustainability. To make it easy, we’ll start by introducing you to The Green Screen™ – our time-saving system of labeling and ranking products by greenness – and finish by making some high-impact product recommendations to get you on your way.

Using the Green ScreenTM

For quick reference, every item in our catalog is given a greenness rank:
Dark Green
 
Green
 
Conventional
Rankings are based on over 50 sustainability indicators in four key categories:
Contains Recycled Content
Biodegradable / Compostable
Reduced Chemical Content
Third Party Certifications
Three types of “A+ Staff Picks” can be found in our most popular categories:
Best Overall Choice
Greenest Choice
Cheapest Green Choice

Top Paper Picks

Copy Paper

Switching to recycled copy paper is a must for any aspiring green office. For this, you can’t do any better than our Boise® Aspen 100.

Not only is this paper made from 100% post-consumer fiber, it’s also processed chlorine free (an environmentally preferable bleaching method) and certified by the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council.

Using copy paper made from recycled fibers instead of virgin tree pulp yields environmental savings across the board, including:

  • 33% less energy
  • 37% less greenhouse gas emissions
  • 49% reduction in wastewater
  • 39% reduction in solid waste

Shop All Copy Paper

288351
Best Overall Choice

ASPEN 100% Multi-Use Recycled Paper, 92 Bright, 20lb, 8-1/2 x 11, White

Boise®
CAS054922
$49.85
Qty:
Dark Green

File Folders

File folders are another paper product used by virtually every office but too often made from unsustainably harvested virgin tree pulp.

The Pendaflex® Earthwise® file folders are the most sustainable option on the market, delivering quality with great peace of mind.

Going above and beyond its conventional rivals, there are many reasons to go green with this fabulous file folder:

  • 100% post-consumer recycled content
  • Meets EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines
  • Made in the USA
  • Natural color conveys environmental responsibility

Shop All File Folders

286878
Greenest Choice

Earthwise by Pendaflex Recycled File Folders, 1/3 Top Tab, Ltr, Natural, 100/BX

Pendaflex®
PFX04342
$19.93
Qty:
Dark Green

More Top Paper Picks

247419
Best Overall Choice

FIREWORX Colored Paper, 20lb, 8-1/2 x 11, Pastel Popper Mix, 500 Sheets/Ream

Boise®
CASFW2001
$7.95
Qty:
Green
78520
Best Overall Choice

100% Recycled Brown Kraft Clasp Envelope, 9 x 12, Brown Kraft, 100/Box

Quality Park™
QUA38711
$16.35
Qty:
Dark Green
159588
Best Overall Choice

100% Recycled Notes, 3 x 3, Four Colors, 12 100-Sheet Pads/Pack

Redi-Tag®
RTG26704
$6.07
Qty:
Dark Green
283091
Best Overall Choice

Earthwise by Ampad 100% Recycled Envelope, #10, 4 1/8 x 9 1/2, White, 500/Box

Ampad®
TOP19384
$24.95
Qty:
Dark Green
141430
Best Overall Choice

Earthwise by Ampad Recycled Writing Pad, 8 1/2 x 11 3/4, WE, 40 SH, 4/PK

Ampad®
TOP40102
$14.96
Qty:
Dark Green
105946
Cheapest Green Choice

Sugarcane Based Notebook, College Rule, 11 x 8 1/2, White, 100 Sheets

Universal®
UNV66208
$2.90
Qty:
Dark Green

Shop All Paper

Top Supplies Picks

View Binder

View binders are a great way of presenting and storing information, but too often they’re made of PVC (a.k.a. vinyl), a plastic that poses risk to human and ecological health.

In 2007 we partnered with the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health and launched our PVC Free Workplace campaign, becoming the first office products retailer to remove all items containing PVC from our catalog.

The Samsill® Earth’s Choice binder series offers many benefits over it’s conventional counterparts, including:

  • 52% total recycled content
  • 43% post-consumer recycled content
  • PVC / vinyl free
  • Made in the USA

Shop All Binders

263253
Best Overall Choice

Earth's Choice Biobased Round Ring View Binder, 1" Cap, White

Samsill®
SAM18937
$2.60
Qty:
Green

Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Pens are ubiquitous office companions and yet far too many are produced with non-recycled plastics and don’t allow for refills.

According to the EPA, here in the US we toss out 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. Yikes!

The Pilot® Bottle-2-Pen retractable ball point pen series is a great way to help reduce waste and support more sustainable design:

  • Made from recycled plastic bottles (cool!)
  • 86% post-consumer recycled content
  • Refillable
  • Made in the USA

Shop All Pens

127614
Best Overall Choice

B2P Bottle-2-Pen Recycled Retractable Ball Point Pen, Black Ink, 1mm, Dozen

Pilot®
PIL32800
$9.34
Qty:
Green

More Top Supplies Picks

237670
Best Overall Choice

Recycled Paper Clips, Smooth, Jumbo, 100/Box, 10 Boxes/Pack

ACCO
ACC72525
$9.84
Qty:
Green
170196
Best Overall Choice

KleenEarth Basic Plastic Handle Scissors, 8" Long, Bent, Black

Westcott®
ACM15584
$4.13
Qty:
Green
132740

Transparent Greener Tape, 3/4" x 900", 1" Core, 6/Pack

Scotch®
MMM6126P
$15.73
Qty:
Green
178662
Best Overall Choice

Permanent Markers, Chisel Tip, Black, Dozen

Universal®
UNV07051
$3.49
Qty:
Green

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Top Breakroom Picks

Hot Drink Cups

Styrofoam is so last century. Instead of adding to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that infamous floating vortex of plastic circling our western shores, try switching to compostables.

The Eco Products® World Art Insulated Hot Cup series has quickly become a breakroom classic. This hot cup is sturdy, sleek, and provides ample protection from hot liquid contents.

Benefits include:

  • Compostable
  • Certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute
  • Features a leak-proof PLA (corn-based polymer) liner
  • Classy world art design

Shop All Supplies

186586

World Art Renewable & Compostable Insulated Hot Cups - 12oz., 40/PK, 15 PK/CT

Eco-Products®
ECOEPBNHC12WD
$92.47
Qty:
Dark Green

Tea

No civilized breakroom is complete without an assortment of fine teas. But don’t make the green office faux pas of serving conventionally grown leaves harvested under questionable working conditions.

Instead, offer up our delicious Numi® Organic Teas. Made by a company that leads the industry in sustainable practices, you can enjoy with assurance that every sip supports people and planet.

Our hands down favorite, Numi ® Organic Teas are:

  • Certified USDA organic
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Awarded for sustainable packaging
  • Tasty and healthy

Shop All Beverages

288279
Best Overall Choice

Organic Teas and Teasans, 1.27oz, Jasmine Green, 18/Box

Numi®
NUM10108
$7.23
Qty:
Dark Green

More Top Breakroom Picks

186749
Best Overall Choice

GreenStripe Renewable/Compostable Cold Cups Convenience Pack, 16oz, 50/PK

Eco-Products®
ECOEPCC16GSPK
$9.23
Qty:
Dark Green
151189
Best Overall Choice

Plantware Renewable & Compostable Knife - 6", 50/PK, 20 PK/CT

Eco-Products®
ECOEPS011
$70.27
Qty:
Dark Green
151147
Best Overall Choice

Plantware Renewable & Compostable Fork - 6", 50/PK, 20 PK/CT

Eco-Products®
ECOEPS012
$64.06
Qty:
Dark Green
217075
Best Overall Choice

Plantware Renewable & Compostable Spoon - 6", 50/PK, 20 PK/CT

Eco-Products®
ECOEPS013
$64.06
Qty:
Dark Green
235943
Best Overall Choice

100% Recycled Napkins, 1-Ply, 12 x 12, Unbleached, 500/Pack

Seventh Generation®
SEV13705PK
$7.43
Qty:
Dark Green
235940
Best Overall Choice

100% Recycled Facial Tissue, 2-Ply, 175/Box

Seventh Generation®
SEV13712BX
$3.26
Qty:
Dark Green

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Top Breakroom Picks

Toilet Paper

Too often toilet paper is made from unsustainably sourced virgin tree pulp and whitened with a chlorine-based bleaching process posing serious threat to the environment. Our bottoms can do better!

Seventh Generation® Natural Unbleached Bath Tissue is the greenest choice on the market. Recycled and chlorine-free, a sustainably cleaned bum lets you flush with a clear conscience.

Benefits include:

  • 100% total recycled content
  • 80% post-consumer recycled content
  • Unbleached, chlorine-free manufacturing
  • Made by a Certified B Corporation

Shop All Bathroom Tissue

275515
Best Overall Choice

Natural Unbleached 100% Recycled Bath Tissue, 2-Ply, 400 Sheets/Mega Roll, 12/Pk

Seventh Generation®
SEV13735PK
$14.97
Qty:
Dark Green

All-purpose cleaner

Cleaning with toxic chemicals has always seemed like an oxymoron. What kind of clean is that? The new clean means using biodegradable, plant based solvents to break down grease and grime.

Our recommendation: Method® All-Purpose Cleaner. With a variety of scents to please your sniffer, this surface spray is derived from corn and coconut, harnessing the natural power of plants.

Method® All-Purpose Cleaner offers many benefits over conventional alternatives, including:

  • Non-toxic
  • Cradle-to-Cradle Certified: Gold
  • Made by a Certified B Corporation
  • Made in the USA

Shop All Cleaning Products

271718

All-Purpose Cleaner, Cucumber, 28 oz Bottle

Method®
MTH00002
$4.78
Qty:
Dark Green

More Top Janitorial Picks

193868
Best Overall Choice

Foaming Hand Wash, Green Tea & Aloe, 10 oz Pump Bottle

Method®
MTH00362
$4.41
Qty:
Dark Green
244569
Best Overall Choice

Small Deskside Recycling Container, Rectangular, Plastic, 13.625qt, Blue

Rubbermaid® Commercial
RCP295573BE
$7.45
Qty:
Green
275587
Best Overall Choice

Natural Unbleached 100% Recycled Paper Towel Rolls, 11 x 9, 120 SH/RL, 6 RL/PK

Seventh Generation®
SEV13737PK
$20.96
Qty:
Dark Green
272126
Best Overall Choice

Natural Automatic Dishwasher Powder, Free & Clear, 45oz Box

Seventh Generation®
SEV22150EA
$5.39
Qty:
Dark Green
281276
Best Overall Choice

EcoSafe-6400 Compostable Compost Bags, 13gal, .85mil, 24 x 30, Green, 45/Box

Stout® by Envision™
STOE2430E85
$17.93
Qty:
Dark Green

Shop All Breakroom

Top Technology Picks

All-in-One Printer

As much talk as there’s been about the coming of the paperless office, even the most technologically advanced workplaces still can’t seem to do without a printer.

When it comes time to make the investment, the first thing to consider is an all-in-one solution to save money and resources. Next, be wary of energy hogs. Finally, make sure remanufactured ink or toner refills are available.

Meeting all these criteria is the Canon PIXMA MX532 Multifunction Color Inkjet Printer:

  • Energy Star Qualfied
  • All-in-one copy/fax/print/scan functionality saves resources
  • Options for remanufactured ink cartridges available
  • Reliable with great expert reviews

Shop All Printers

Ink and Toner

In North America over 350 million ink cartridges end up in a landfill each year. And once they’re underground may end up leaking toxins into the soil and water table.

The good news is you can help avoid this mess by purchasing remanufactured ink cartridges which are just as reliable as their brand name counterparts, print crisp and clear, and save money to boot.

A top name in remanufactured ink and toner cartridges, Innovera® makes compatible cartridges for hundreds of printers, including these for the Canon PIXMA MX532 Multifunction Color Inkjet Printer featured above. Benefits include:

  • 97% post-consumer recycled content
  • Meets or exceeds OEM performance
  • Made in the USA

Shop All Ink & Toner

167336

Remanufactured 5208B001 (CL-241XL) High-Yield Ink, Tri-Color

Innovera®
IVRCL241XL
$28.10
Qty:
Green

More Top Technology Picks

301635
Greenest Choice

Rechargeable NiMH Batteries with Duralock Power Preserve Technology, AA, 4/Pack

Duracell®
DURNLAA4BCD
$12.26
Qty:
Green
115077
Best Overall Choice

Family Battery Charger, Multiple Battery Sizes

Energizer®
EVECHFC
$36.20
Qty:
Green
237012
Best Overall Choice

Mouse Wrist Cushion, Gray

IMAK®
IMAA10166
$9.12
Qty:
Dark Green
288268

15975 Large Digit Commercial Calculator, 12-Digit LCD

Innovera®
IVR15975
$11.94
Qty:
Green
217223

EX10-06 Cross-Cut Jam Free Shredder, 10 Sheets, 1-2 Users

Swingline®
SWI1757392
$262.19
Qty:
Conventional

Shop All Technology

Top Furniture Picks

Task Chair

A good chair can increase productivity while helping maintain good posture through ergonomic design. The key is a combination of comfort and adjustability.

The Alrea® Elusion Series Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt chair is our top selling task chair, and for good reason. As a recycled alternative to pricy designer brands, value meets values in this handsome workhorse.

Benefits include:

  • 30% total recycled content
  • 10% post-consumer recycled content
  • Highly adjustable
  • Cool, breathable mesh back

Shop All Chairs

123769
Best Overall Choice

Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair, Black

Alera®
ALEEL42BME10B
$150.21
Qty:
Green

Chair Mat

Far too many chair mats are made with PVC (a.k.a. vinyl), which contains a known carcinogen and poses serious threat to the environment.

In 2007 we partnered with the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health and launched our PVC Free Workplace campaign, becoming the first office products retailer to remove all items containing PVC from our catalog.

The Deflect-O® Enviromat PET Chair Mat series is a super cool alternative to conventional chair mats for all sorts of reasons:

  • 100% post-consumer recycled
  • PVC (a.k.a vinyl) free
  • Made from recycled water/beverage bottles
  • Durable with lip/no lip options in many sizes

Shop All Chair Mats

222733
Best Overall Choice

EnvironMat Recycled Anytime Use Chair Mat for Hard Floor, 36 x 48, Clear

deflecto®
DEFCM2G142PET
$56.04
Qty:
Dark Green

More Top Furniture Picks

240484
Best Overall Choice

510 Series Two-Drawer Full-Suspension File, Letter, 29h x25d, Putty

HON®
HON512PL
$216.79
Qty:
Green

Shop All Furniture