Updated at 12:00 pm on 7/22/08
A retailer since 1992 of recycled office paper and supplies, compostable cups and cutlery and nontoxic cleaning products, GreenLine has started this program in which companies and organizations can take an online test to obtain certification. The test asks about green initiatives, and the carrot is that those who pass can display a logo on websites and letterhead.
GreenLine asks 24 questions about energy, buildings, supplies, recycling and transportation. The process takes only about 10 minutes. Begin here.
Urvashi Rangan, director of Greenerchoices.org and a senior scientist and policy analyst with Consumers Union, says she thinks GreenLine's program has value in that it "gives people a place to start in terms of energy and water conservation, recycling, composting and so on, giving a good overview of all the things they need to take under consideration." However, she cautions that since it is self-directed and requires no on-site inspections, "it could be misleading to call it a certification program, which may cause people to thing more of it than it actually is."
"I went through the survey, and it gives a great overall sense, but I don't think it is what we would consider a rigorous, specific, quantitative certification program," says Rangan. "There's a fair amount of wiggle room in terms of your responses."
It shouldn't surprise anyone that a brief, self-monitored survey can't take the place of rigorous third-party certifications like the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program. But GreenLine's incentive may help build awareness and encourage more businesses to reduce their footprints. Of course, the company also stands to earn some publicity and marketing for its own brand, which probably isn't a bad thing given their commitment to green products.
The paper industry has a sizable impact on the environment, both in terms of removing trees and enormous expenditures of fuel and water for processing, as well as toxic chemicals used for bleaching and finishing. Recycled paper substantially reduces those environmental impacts.
Also check out these tips on how to reduce paper use.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.