Lisa's Favorite Green Things Print
Written by Lisa Alexander   
Thursday, 22 April 2010 12:17

To launch Earth Week this year MSNBC’s show “Your Business” asked me if I’d come on the show and bring some of my favorite new green products that I recommend to business and home owners as part of my sustainability programs.  This year I brought five products that will save you time, money and the earth at both work and home. 

The first one I highlighted was a product known as BagUpsTM , a trash bag system that dispenses a constant flow of bio-degradable trash liners while automatically re-lining the trash receptacle with a new bag after the old bag is removed. BagUpTM is a self-contained system that has pre-loaded, perforated bags in a dispenser which protects the bags from the inevitable leaks and spills that occur. When the last bag is used the dispenser lifts out without having to reach in the bottom of the garbage pail. Relining the pail with new bags is as simple as dropping in a new dispenser. 

BagUpsTM uses an environmentally friendly, biodegradable bag, and recyclable cardboard box which is environmentally responsible, does not pollute the environment and is in step with today’s “going green” consumer consciousness.  The product is also made in the USA by disabled veterans and other people with disabilities which makes it part of a great CSR (Corporate Sustainability Responsibility) Programs and reports I design for businesses. 

The next product I highlighted was from my favorite lighting controls company, Lutron Electronics, Inc.  As a LEED AP for both the residential and commercial market, I always recommend Lutron lighting controls and systems as part of my sustainability and energy efficiency programs to reduce electricity consumption and improve occupancy comfort and productivity. 

A large part of our electricity bills come from lighting.  Wasted lighting can account for up to 50% of a building’s total energy usage. Many building spaces, whether they are home or business, remain unoccupied between 40% and 70% of the time, and lights left on are a real energy drain. Lutron wireless daylight occupancy/vacancy sensors automate the switching and dimming of those lights – saving energy, not to mention money.  In office buildings, another big energy hog are the cooling systems.  Lights generate a lot of additional heat in a building.  By turning down unnecessary lighting you will also reduce your cooling loads...and additional savings bonus. 

Convenient and easy, you won’t have to worry about turning lights on or off anymore as Lutron occupancy/vacancy sensors automatically do the job for you every time you enter or exit a restroom, classroom, conference room, hallway, even your own office.  Going wireless eliminates the need for costly new wiring, so “Lutron’s Radio Powr Savr” sensors install in minutes and communicate with compatible Lutron controls using Lutron reliable Clear Connect RF Technology™ which ensures smooth, consistent performance.

Not only do Lutron occupancy/vacancy sensors conserve energy, they help you to comply with the most current building energy codes. With Lutron Energy Saving systems and controls, going green and qualifying for green building certifications such as LEED, Energy Star etc… are a no brainer in my book !

The next product in the line-up was a tried and true company that has been green before even the first Earth Day 40 years ago.  Marcal paper products real environmental pioneers, they are not jumping on the environmental bandwagon, or painting themselves green for Earth Day.  The company has made its products with recycled paper for 60 years; since 1950.  Marcal makes its “Small Steps” line from 100 percent recycled paper made from recycled magazines and junk mail .

The market data for paper products is staggering... 98 % of all household paper sold in the U.S. -- paper towels, napkins, toilet and bath tissue -- are products made from virgin fiber, sourced from freshly killed old growth trees, ancient Boreal Forest and Rain Forest.  

Clear-cutting for paper and other products is a major factor in deforestation that accounts for as much as 20% of our GHG ( Green House Gases). You see, although trees consume CO2 while they live and grow, as soon as you cut them down they release all the CO2 they stored up over decades.

Marcal believes you shouldn’t pay extra to go green and get great performance.  It’s why their full “Small Steps” line of 100 percent recycled paper products – paper towels, perfect for greening your spring cleaning, plus napkins, facial and toilet tissue – sells for less than the traditional brands.   Costs less, works great, helps the planet, now that’s a powerful combo!

My next favorite product was the Xerox Phaser 8860 Solid Ink Technology Printer. By  using solid ink, cartridge-free technology you will help the environment by generating 90%  less waste compared to typical color cartridges over the course of printing 100,000 pages.  Solid ink is safe and non-toxic, easy to handle and 100 % dust free, which is great for indoor air quality, again something that is important in any CSR program. 

The solid ink sticks look very much like giant crayons.   Due to the simplicity of the design, solid ink uses less energy to manufacture and smaller packaging equates to less packaging waste, cheaper shipping and less CO2 emissions due to less weight from plastic cartridges.  The cartridge-free design means no plastic cartridges to recycle or throw out to a land fill, not to mention all the energy, oil and fresh water saved in NOT producing the typical plastic cartridge.     

The Solid Ink looks like a hard lump of colored Play-Dough®.  It comes solid and then heats up with the natural heat the printer produces turning it back into liquid ink which then becomes solid again on the printed page. Recycled paper of any kind can be used with the same high-quality results, and solid ink printouts can be recycled.

Plus the Xerox Phaser 8860 Solid Ink Technology Printer can save as much as 50% on  your color printing costs when compared to competitive color laser printers over the the course of four years, that plus 90% less waste is a pretty good finical and environmental ROI ( Return on Investment).

The last product on the show I featured was a great concept as much as it is a great company. Too much old office furniture ends up in a land fill, and most of it these days is made of really hard plastics that never break down. There are so many other options to this dilemma. 

The task chair featured on the show would have cost about $400 brand new, but that one wasn’t new, it was reupholstered and brought back to life by a company in Brooklyn called Green Furniture Services, for just $90 dollars.  And better still is that the beautiful fabric they used to reupholster it was made from 100% recycled polyester material.

When office furniture is reupholstered or refinished the furniture is prevented from being discarded into a landfill where it will reside forever. When furniture, whether it be office chairs, sofa’s, tables, desks and even cubical walls are reupholstered, refurbished or re-stained they become "re-newed" and are given at least another 10 years of life. And in most cases even after that time when the fabric starts to rip or tear again, as long as the rest if it is not broken beyond repair, it can usually be reupholstered or refurbished again and given new life.  The antique industry has been doing this for hundreds of years to preserve value, why not do they same for our durable hard plastic office furniture and save money and the environment.  It’s an instant savings and ROI.

Green Furniture Services offers all kinds of green and cost effect office furniture alternatives such as reupholstery, refinishing, cleaning, rental and used furniture. All of these services are eco-friendly and environmentally safe. Not only do they promote the environmental benefits of their services but they also inform their clients of the cost savings and about the benefits to Mother Nature as well.

It was a win-win for the smart savvy eco-client, they saved money and they saved the environment.  It was good enough for one of the most intelligent and influential man of our contemporary times, Former President Bill Clinton used these services when outfitting his Harlem Offices.  If it’s good enough for one of my hero’s it is good enough for this influential Green Guru Girl too !

Click here to see the video