Office materials are one area where companies can easily increase their efforts to become greener. However, when shopping for the most environmentally friendly options, it is important not to confuse the terms recycled and recyclable.
What Is the Difference Between Recycled and Recyclable?
Items that are recycled are made from materials that previously formed another object. Recyclable, on the other hand, means the item can be reused when the owner no longer has use for it. Paper, metal, and plastic may all fall under this latter category. Some other materials are not worth recycling either because their recycling rate is too low or because the technology to reuse such material does not exist.
The Problem with Recyclables
The most eco-friendly options for office materials are those that are both recycled and recyclable. However, there is often a problem with items labeled “recyclable,” namely, the likelihood that they will actually be recycled once they are no longer useful. For instance, an office chair may contain a high percentage of recyclable materials, but most likely office managers will encounter difficulties if they try to recycle the pieces.
In order to make the smallest environmental impact, businesses need to make smart choices when choosing office supplies. This means considering the recycled and recyclable materials contained in an object, researching how easily an item can be recycled, and choosing supplies that are likely to have a long lifespan.