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Environmentally friendly products, choices growing for businesses

Thursday, July 31, 2008 Article from the Steamboat Pilot & Today

By Melinda Dudley

The days of recycled paper being pricey, gray and notorious for gumming up office machines are long gone. These days, sustainable office products are widely available at high quality and competitive prices, and paper is no exception, PostNet President Kathy Stokes said.

“The tables have turned,” she said Wednesday, to dozens of local businesspeople gathered at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Sustainable Business Luncheon. The luncheon’s topic examined how to reduce business paper usage, from easy tips such as printing on both sides to more technical fixes such as computerized document archiving.

While customers used to have limited options for recycled and sustainable paper products, today, 84 percent of paper sold in the United States comes from certified-sustainable forests, Stokes said.

For businesses just starting to incorporate sustainable practices, limiting paper usage and buying better paper products is an easy place to begin — and somewhere, significant improvements can be made. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, said consultant Lyn Halliday, president of Environmental Solutions Unlimited.

“We all use it, and we call can reduce it,” Halliday said.

The Sustainable Steamboat Business Program is now up to 43 members since its launch in 2007, with 10 joining in the last quarter alone, ranging in size from two to thousands of employees.

“This has really grown,” said Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall. “I’m excited at how all of you have been able to grow the momentum within the business industry.”

In the coming weeks, the Sustainable Steamboat Bu­­siness Program will launch an online newsletter as well as an online forum, where involved businesses can trade advice outside of the program’s quarterly networking luncheons.

“Really, there’s no finish line of sustainability,” Halliday said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Top 10 ways to reduce office paper usage

1. Less photocopying

2. Less paper faxing

3. Limiting mail sent and received

4. Paperless invoicing

5. Exploring Web-based marketing

6. Electronic communications in the office

7. Less magazines and catalogs

8. Use recycled products

9. Use sustainable products

10. Recycle everything you can

Source: Lyn Halliday, Environmental Solutions Unlimited

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