• Bring your own coffee mug to work. If you’re not a fan of the office coffee, consider purchasing a refillable mug from a local coffeehouse. Many shops offer a discount on the coffee if you bring in their (or even your own) mug. Invest in a water container, rather than buying disposable water bottles.
• Reuse cardboard boxes to store office supplies, files and equipment. It’s even better for the environment than recycling the cardboard. The corrugated boxes The Container Store sells, for example, have triple-wall construction and fitted lids, so they can hold plenty of letter- and legal-size folders, documents or books. Cost: $63 for a set of 20.
• Steer clear of plastic ballpoint pens sold by the dozen and opt for the less wasteful refillable ballpoint or rollerball models.
Another idea: Buy pens made from recycled material. Two examples are: GoodKind Pens’ Woody Pen (207) 883-1250; and Amazing Recycled Products’ black ballpoint pen (800) 241-2174. Both are 100% recycled material and refillable.
• Keep used shopping bags in the office break room or kitchen and you’ll always have a bag handy to take home the last piece of birthday cake or to lug home work. Better yet, keep a couple of good-looking grocery bags in your desk drawer. For example, the Envirosax bags ($8 for one, $35 for five; Envirosax.com) have distinctive patterns, are reusable and affordable. Roll one up and it’s small enough to stow in your drawer or tote.