Searching for green office supplies, I notice there’s quite a bit to choose from. Among the chipboard binders and Kraft paper labels, I began to notice a trend that seems a little disturbing. There are many (many!) products out there that, at first glance, don’t look “green” at all. Steel shelving units and plastic desk organizers among them.

cheap plastic crap

While my first thought is, “are those things really green?” My second thought is, “If you consider yourself, your actions and your choices to be green, you would consider whether you really need that new plastic desk-top organizer to begin with. Looking at the above desk organizer from you notice that they say “50% Post-Consumer Waste” but they don’t tell you what part of it contains the 50% Post-Consumer Waste or how much of it went into the product in the first place.

(And what about a name like “BuyOnlineNow”? They’re not even encouraging you to consider the impact of your purchase. Of course, what good would that do?)

Last I checked, “reduce” and “reuse” were the first two of the three “R” words associated with green practices. If I were going to “reduce,” I would eliminate the need for such a desktop organizer in the first place. Then, if I really needed it, I would try to “reuse” something else to work just as well. An old can or cup can be used for a pen-holder (and who doesn’t have at least one extra can or cup around? I’ve got a few, so let me know if you need one), Post-It Notes don’t really need their own dispenser, and other things like tacks and rubber bands can go in all kinds of left-over containers.

While I try not to get preachy about these things (cuz there are certainly other things to rant about), I see neither the need for this kind of product, nor do I trust the “Green Info” about the amount of Post-Consumer Waste claimed to be in this product. It’s too vague. And you know what, I don’t need it. Consider whether you need it as well.

(I promise to get back to some substantive stuff over the weekend.)