Are You EcoSmart?

What’s your footprint? Are you EcoSmart?

The word innovative can mean so many things these days, from high tech to high speed and everything in-between. The iPhone, iPad, and other gadgets are often the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘innovative’, but there are trends in the office furniture industry that bring new meaning to ‘innovative’.

One of the often overlooked ways to be innovative is to find new ways of re-using resources. What used to be the junkyard is sometimes now the goldmine. There are more and more companies these days that are concerned about their impact on the environment and are taking steps to minimize their footprint. One of the best ways to do this for any company is to consider the way it uses resources like electricity, natural gas, and even less obvious things like their office furniture.

By selecting office furniture that requires fewer raw materials or utilizes used, recycled, and refurbished materials, a business can take small but meaningful steps to help do their part to minimize their footprint.

There are a number of companies serving this niche market today. Not only do these companies provide green alternatives for office environments, but through their processes, they save countless tons of waste from entering our landfills and incinerators each year. They also do a great job of keeping much needed manufacturing jobs in our country.

Even if going the recycled route isn’t a good fit for your office, you can choose new products that also help minimize your footprint. Sometimes going Green means spending extra “green”, but there are alternatives that can help you make a difference in the environment and your budget. When shopping for wood desks, ask your sales person if the wood that is used comes from forests that are managed. You can also ask if the finishing process is environmentally sound. If they tell you that it is a water base product or a catalyzed finish process, you’re on the right track. Ask if the board materials meet the latest standards for VOC off-gassing.  When you’re looking at chairs, it’s easy to be mis-led by some labels.  How Green is it and how much more will it cost?  So ask yourself, is it really worth the extra money?

Another thing to consider is the packaging. Ask your sales person about the packaging to see if the company that made the products has found a good balance between protecting the products and protecting the environment. While Styrofoam is sometimes the best solution, some companies use an excessive amount and have not thought about better solutions simply because Styrofoam is often the cheapest solution.

Being EcoSmart is not always the expensive option. Sometimes it is the best idea for you, your company, and our future.

By Maggie Fox, NBC News

Office workers who spent an hour or so a day at stand-up workstations felt more energized, productive and even happier, researchers reported on Thursday. And if they keep it up, they may help reduce the damage done by sitting at a desk all day.

Study after study has shown that sitting all day long is bad for you. People risk developing lower back problems, kidney disease, heart disease and other ills – even if they exercise outside of work.

“If you go out for a 30 minute run , and then sit for eight hours at work, you could still have health problems because you are sitting all day,” said Nicolaas Pronk, a vice president at Minnesota-based HealthPartners, a non-profit health care organization that provides clinics, health insurance and does health care research.

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