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Expert: Buying 'green' has never been easier

Nov. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University knows a thing or two about going green, especially its Sustainability Department.

The department hosted a Sustainability Lunch and Learn session this week with a star of the industry, Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental strategy for Office Depot, speaking on "Greener Purchasing That Saves."

Siddiqui helped Office Depot be named the greenest large retail business by Newsweek magazine from 2010 to 2012.

He discussed the idea of "shades of green" and encouraging people to be more aware of conservation and sustainable products without feeling "guilted."

"In America there is this real divide when it comes to environmentalists that you have to transform into California and unless you can be as green as you can be, then it doesn't count," Siddiqui said.

Utilizing Office Depot's four different kinds of copier paper from 100 percent recyclable to regular as well as a bank of rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, Siddiqui showed how advances have been made in many products. It's gotten to the point where products made of recyclable materials can actually be cheaper than the common product, a fact that goes against many people's conceptions of "green" products always being more expensive.

He noted that that one of Office Depot's Top 50 selling products is its hanging folders made of 100 percent recyclable materials -- the greenest and their cheapest option.

Siddiqui said the fact is that going greener sometimes costs more and sometimes cost less, and that going green can save businesses money on initial costs, operational costs and in repurchasing.

Siddiqui said green purchasing -- which involves identifying, selecting and purchasing products with significantly less adverse environmental impacts than competing products -- has never been easier nor more practical.

He said companies should just try a few things such as remanufactured toner cartridges or 100-percent recyclable paper to see the improvements in today's green products.

On the Web
 Go online at http://www.marshall.edu/sustainability to find out more about Marshall University’s Sustainability Department. The department hosts a series of Lunch and Learn sessions. The next one will be in February. Go online at http://www.community.officedepot.com/top20list.asp to learn how businesses can take 20 steps to go more green and save money.

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