No matter what business you’re in, you use office supplies, and greening these office supplies is step in the path toward a more sustainable business. Shoplet.com is helping more businesses and consumers choose green office supplies by making the choice easy.
Shoplet.com sells over 200,000 office products, including everything from furniture to cleaning supplies. For many of these they can now suggest an alternative from a selection of over 8000 green office products, a wide selection. “Our mission is to provide our customers with the largest selection of green products possible and encourage users who are not already doing so to think about finding greener alternative to the products they already buy,” says Tony Ellison, CEO and founder of Shoplet.
Shoplet is taking this route and making it easy to switch to green because they see an opportunity; in the last 3 years they have seen demand for these products grow over 700%. “We saw a demand for greener, more energy efficient office supplies and we wanted to provide our customers with the largest selection possible,” says Ellison. “While we see the biggest demand for things like recycled copy paper, we are also seeing more people buying other recycled paper products, recycled notebooks and even bigger items like recycled chairs and desks.” To help with shopping green, Shoplet has a Facebook application that calculates the number of trees saved, energy conserved, and water conserved as a result of buying more eco-friendly products.
Although there are many greener options available, common misconceptions about green products often get in the way of buying them. Many people still believe that green products don’t work as well as others, or that they always cost a great deal more. Some green choices do cost a little more while other cost less, but they all deliver value for your money. “In the past there may have been this stigma towards recycled products about them being more expensive and less of a value,” says Ellison, “but these days it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a recycled item and its less green counterpart”.
Office supplies are probably not the biggest part of your budget, but they are highly visible and help to increase awareness of sustainability in daily business practices. “When employees see reams of recycled office paper it makes them naturally try to be more conservative with what they print and more vigilant in throwing paper in the recycling bin instead of the trash,” says Ellison.
Green purchasing is also influenced greatly by how easy (or hard) it is to find these products. Most people are not opposed to buying green, but they need the choice to be as easy as possible, or else it won’t always happen. “We wanted to provide people with an easy to use interface to could quickly find recycled office products as an alternative to the office supply products they have been using for years,” says Ellison. “Our innovative Green Your Office Checkout allows customers to compare the items they put in their cart with their greener counterparts”.
As more businesses move toward sustainability they find that they are not alone. Businesses are part of an interconnected supply chain, working with other businesses on sustainability. “We have also been working closely with our manufacturers to help them come up with eco-friendly ways to improve their products,” says Ellison. “HP, for instance, produces increasingly more energy efficient printers using more recycled materials. We try to convey to our manufacturers the demand we see from our customers for more recycled office supplies.” They now work with manufacturers like Smead and House-of-Dolittle that are responding to increased demand by offering whole lines of products made from 100% recycled material. Manufacturers of electronic equipment also see this mainstream demand for more energy efficient products, and are finding ways to incorporating recycled materials into their products and making them more easily recyclable at the end of their life cycle.
Buying green products is not just for a small group today. Government, businesses, and individuals are all buying green options. “The green movement has moved beyond the fringes to a mainstream movement,” says Ellison. “It just seems logical to use less when it benefits both the environment and your bottom line. Where five years ago the demand for recycled copy paper was minimal at best, now we see most of our enterprise-level customers asking specifically for green alternatives.” If you’re one these businesses joining the move toward sustainability, or just looking for a good value, consider green office products next time you’re shopping and look up Shoplet.com to help make the move easy.
Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green”, and the founder of Starting Up Green, helping green entreprenuers to make money and make a difference.