Your small business might not have the resources to go green from top to bottom. But you can make an environmental impact by making small changes.
1. Refillable whiteboard markers
Have you ever been frustrated by a whiteboard marker that suddenly doesn't work? Drawing on a whiteboard is a great brainstorming method, but only when you can see what you're writing. Dry-erase markers often dry out, so pick up some refillable markers that last.
Cost: 12 for $30, AusPen
2. Hand-powered paper shredder
You'll no doubt print less in your initiative to go green, so you'll have fewer documents to destroy. This hand-powered paper shredder efficiently replaces traditional electric-powered models. It also provides a top-of-the-line bicep workout, and it made our Employee Gift Guide last year.
Cost: $24, UncommonGoods
3. The seven-year pen
Stop ordering industrial-sized boxes of Bics. The company that makes the seven-year pen promises it will last at least that long. It's made of high-quality materials. And the funky designs add flair to your office.
Cost: $8, See Jane Work
4. 100 percent recycled notes
No matter how hard you try to limit your paper use, nothing can truly replace a Post-It. The pocket-sized sticky notes are an office staple, convenient for jotting down reminders and notes. So, why not opt for the recycled version? They even come in pastels.
Cost: $18, The Green Office
5. Alera four-drawer lateral file cabinet
This functional filing cabinet is made of 70 percent recyclable materials. It's significantly less expensive than its Officmax counterpart. When you can buy an eco-friendly product and save money, too, why not?
Cost: $340, Shoplet
6. Recycled tissues and paper towels
Marcal is a leading brand for 100 percent recycled paper products. Its dedication to going green is unwavering. The company motto is "Saving Trees Since 1950." You can pitch into the cause by stocking your office bathrooms with Marcal's paper products.
Cost: Contact email@example.com for wholesale price.
7. Recycled trash bins
Replace the traditional trash and recycling cans in your office with bins that are just as good, and made from 100 percent recycled plastic. TerraCycle's models are made from traditionally non-recyclable products like chip bags and toothbrushes that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Cost: $15, TerraCycle.com
8. USB cell
Your battery-buying days are over. This sustainable alternative to batteries charges AA batteries using a ubiquitous source of power: USB ports.
Cost: $18, USBCell
The Forest Stewardship Council certifies ReBinder's 3-ring recycled binders their environmentally friendly sourcing. If you buy a case of 10 of the 1-inch originals, they cost just over $3 per unit.
Cost: $34, ReBinder
10. Moss terrarium
This is a fun and eco-friendly way to add a bright touch to any workspace. A terrarium requires less maintenance than a plant, and it will last longer. This model is made from a recycled wine bottle, and includes everything you need to build your own Zen mini garden for your desk.
Cost: $38, Uncommon Goods
Making your office itself part of your sustainable business plan will pay off in many ways. Helping the environment by simply rededicating the dollars you already spend for supplies is a great step toward going green.
Learn more in OPEN Forum's Going Green 2012 series.
Photo credit: Thinkstock