Starting a new business as an environmentally friendly one (or making an existing one greener) often can seem like a challenging task.
As I was thinking about what it takes for a business to take this step, I naturally decided to call a local business that is working to be as green as possible and also sells a number of recycled and environmentally friendly products that other businesses can incorporate into their daily operations.
By building environmentally conscious practices, VIP Business Products is taking vital steps toward sustainability.
As VIP CEO Dianne Horton said, “It is important for us to not see this as a trend but as a more efficient and responsible way of doing business so that we can show other businesses that small changes in their everyday routine can add up to significant cost savings over time as well as benefit the environment around us.”
Anybody who knows Horton knows that she is an outstanding businesswoman who cares about her business and her community. VIP is making environmentally friendly efforts because it is good for both.
I asked Jennifer Buehler at VIP to share with me the kinds of eco-friendly products they have available to get customers moving in the green direction. They have quite a few cool products that any business could use:
• Post-It brand Greener Notes — By going to www.post-it.com/onetree, Post-It maker 3M will plant a tree when you buy this product (12 pack of 100-sheet cubes). The cubes are made from recycled paper and contain a plant-based adhesive. No new trees were used, and the plant material used for the adhesive was replenished after harvesting.
• Brother P-Touch labeling tape — Uses 80 percent less plastic packaging than before. The cassette plastic has been reduced by 13 percent, and the cassette itself contains at least 5 percent recycled material.
• Rubbermaid Desk Director — Made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. The label is printed on 10 percent post-consumer recycled paper as well.
• Pilot’s B2P Pen — Made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
• Pilot’s RexGrip BeGreen mechanical pencils — Made from 71.9 percent recycled content.
• VIP private-label toner — Made completely from recycled/reconditioned toners. When toners are recycled, some are sent back, refurbished and used or sold again.
• “Ready, Set, Go Green” activity book — This activity book by Frank Shaffer Publications for children in kindergarten and first grade is made entirely from 100 percent recycled paper and uses soy-based inks, meaning no trees were harmed in the making of the activity book.
• Canon mini-desktop printing calculator — The entire calculator is made from old Canon copiers’ recycled material.
• Nature Saver Classification Folders — Made from 100 percent recycled product with at least 30 percent post-consumer waste.
• The Alera chair — Even business furniture is going green. The upholstery is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and is solution dyed in an eco-friendly process. The use of the chair could contribute to the individual prerequisites and credits of LEED certification.
Thankfully, many of these green business products not only are eco-friendly, they also are friendly on the company budget. Even if the benefits to the environment are slow to see, benefits to your bottom line may be visible rather quickly.
Horton and Buehler also shared some of the operational practices that they are incorporating into their green policy for VIP:
• They now recycle all of their paper company-wide, including what is produced from the copiers and print shop on the retail floor.
• They recycle all of their toners and ink cartridges. The money gained from recycling is donated to the Liberty Humane Shelter.
• They recycle old computers, phones and fluorescent light bulbs when necessary. More often than not, Tera Anderson, VIP IT manager, has been repurposing old computers and making new hard drives with them. That’s a handy skill to have.
• When the break rooms, bathrooms and non-common areas are not in use, turn off the lights.
• They are working on a plan to go paperless company-wide and currently are researching software packages to help make this happen. They plan to have this component of their plan implemented within the next six to eight months.
• The suppliers they use have sustainable practices in place with their fulfillment, products they offer and amount of energy reduced or saved by working “smarter.” All of these companies, such as Hammermill, recycle their paper or harvest the pulp from sustainable forestry initiatives.
These ideas are terrific, and they all can be incorporated at any workplace. It is easy to see why VIP has been named one of the outstanding businesses in our community. Thank you, VIP, for leading the way in going green.
Upcoming KLB activity
“Bring One for the Chipper” is coming in December. Buy your Christmas tree, but don’t forget to recycle it for mulch after the holidays.