The transition to a paperless office is an important part of achieving sustainable operations for any business. But since it’s a gradual process even for the most motivated companies, binders and other such products are bound to continue playing an important role in their organization for some time.
Meanwhile, plastic binders and CD/DVD cases continue to add hundreds of tons of toxic, offgassing PVC to our landfills each year. So what can businesses, students and home consumers do in the meantime to keep their papers organized without contributing to the glut of nondegradable material clogging our landfills?
Enter ReBinder, maker of zero-waste office products. The Seattle-based company offers customers environmentally safe and attractive alternatives to vinyl and plastic at price parity, so “people don’t have to spend more to do the right thing,” according to CMO Brant Williams.
The 100% recycled paper 3-ring binders also differ from standard binders in that their rings are easily removable, for ease in recycling or replacing the cover, should it become damaged – a cost savings over having to purchase a whole new binder. ReBinder’s line of recyclable office products also includes CD/DVD sleeves, notebooks, folders and accessories that “make it easy for organizations to make the responsible choice, for the environment and for their balance sheet,” Williams says.
ReBinder was born in 2004 when it occurred to people working at Eversio Barcoding Solutions that they had accumulated shelves and shelves of employee handbooks and manuals in plastic binders that would likely sit there, or somewhere, forever. Soon after, the company launched its first recycled paper office product, the ReBinder, and the barcode business was sold in 2007 to focus entirely on the growth of the new company.
In addition to providing responsible alternatives to standard plastic products, ReBinder also provides jobs locally to disabled workers as part of the company’s commitment to broader economic and community development. Despite its environmentally friendly products and socially responsible business and labor practices, ReBinder does not consider itself a green company.
“We believe there is no such thing as a green business — there is only business,” Williams explains. “The best thing a ‘green’ business owner can do to succeed — and therefore make the impact they are hoping to — is to become crystal clear about the business they’re in.
“The only way change is going to happen in this world,” he goes on, “is when companies that make authentically responsible products start winning business, on the main stage, through the main channels in the market.”
“Green” or not, companies such as ReBinder are the key to a more sustainable business world.
Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on Google Plus
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