Recycled office supplies
In 1991, Steve Baker vacationed in Costa Rica, a trip that began as purely recreational but would open his eyes to the harsh reality of the relationship between deforestation and the paper industry.
“While visiting one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems on the planet, what I also saw was truckload after truckload of cut forest trees coming down the mountain for the lumber and paper industries,” recalls Baker.
Despite having no prior experience with the paper industry, Baker says he returned having had, “an epiphany of sorts—to do something about America’s and the world’s dependence on forests for paper products.”
In 1992, Baker founded Greenline Paper Company as a mail-order hub for tree-less and post-consumer recycled paper products. More than two decades later, Greenline has become an online store, and the majority of the paper it sells is 100 percent post-consumer recycled and processed without chlorine. Initially, Greenline distributed just copy paper for offices, but the company has since expanded to include a much wider variety of recycled office supplies. Now, green-minded consumers can stock up on recycled pens, paperclips, notebooks, and more.
Director of marketing Stephen Weisser stresses that, for Greenline, sustainable office supplies are more than a niche category: “Every one of our products has a green aspect to it,” he says. “This isn’t us selling some post-consumer recycled and compostable products along with traditional ones.”
As Greenline Paper grew, company staff realized they needed to address the realities of paper waste that accompanies shipping. They started reusing shipping cartons, and packing boxes with recycled paper or biodegradable “peanuts” rather than using polystyrene foam or other single-use plastics. And in 2011, they launched a carbon-neutral shipping program.
For many, the hesitation to switch to recycled paper in the workplace stems from concern about quality. Weisser puts those fears to rest: “The quality [of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper] is very good. That surprised me initially, because the first recycled paper I saw years ago was grey almost and rough. Now [the paper we distribute] looks like anything else you would buy,” he says.
For Greenline Paper customers, green is the obvious choice, as they prioritize recycled and sustainable products so that the world can continue to enjoy lush, beautiful forests, rather than the stark clearcuts Baker saw in Costa Rica years ago.
“We speak with our purchasing dollars,” says Weisser. “We make daily decisions to buy a green product [versus] a commercial product.”