Beware of Your Mark

Markers can contain harsh chemicals (evinced by their strong smell). Because toxic chemicals can leak into the groundwater from the landfills at which they're disposed, it's better to use markers that are water-based and have nontoxic ink with refillable heads.    

Office Trip?

Are you planning a trip for your office? Consider venues that are sustainable or facilities like the Lied Lodge and Conference Center, a nonprofit facility run by the National Arbor Day Foundation. It's in Nebraska City, NE (close to Iowa!), and all the profits go back to greening the earth.

Paper Clips

Recycle your paper clips or reuse the ones you have. Enough paper clips are produced each year to hand every person in the world at least three. For every 100,000 paper clips produced, only 20,000 are used to hold paper together. The rest aren’'t being used.


Use refillable pens. Pens are often tossed into the garbage and not recycled or reused. Their components and packaging are made from nonrenewable resources and can contain environmentally-harmful chemicals. Each year, Americans discard 1.6 billion pens. Placed end to end, they would stretch more than 150,000 miles, equivalent to crossing the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Tokyo more than 25 times.

Sticky Note Smarts

Look for paper notes made of 100% recycled fiber and at least 30% postconsumer content. Sales of adhesive notes are estimated at about $1 billion per year. A pack of 100 sells for about $1.25, which means that some 80 billion little sticky notes are stuck somewhere each year.

The Life of a File Folder

Try using 100% recycled file folders with post-consumer recycled fiber. This fiber is derived from paper that is recovered from the waste stream. You can also flip folders inside out and reuse them. That's important when paper makes up about half the trash!