You're already thinking green by planning to use recycled paper for your business' packaging materials. Now you need to think creatively about where to obtain it. You can reduce your costs and your effect on the environment by finding unique sources for recycled paper. It wouldn't be far-fetched to turn procuring this material into a part-time or intern position so your supply remains steady.
Finding Suppliers for Recycled Paper
Utilize the waste that your company produces. Have employees save the packing paper (and the boxes) from packages they receive, the brown bags from their takeout meals, trade magazines, junk mail and copy paper (provided it doesn't contain sensitive information). Set up bins in your offices for easy disposal. Encourage your staff by sending a monthly email that estimates how many trees they have saved, and implement a companywide benefit they will receive (like a delicious free lunch every month) as a direct result of saving your business money.
Knock on your neighbors' doors. Send a representative to other companies in your office building to request that they drop off their own waste once per month. If you have a great demand for recycled paper, get aggressive and canvas your whole block (or two or three surrounding it) and solicit other businesses for their paper. Sell them on giving you their paper by pointing out such benefits as having a pickup service get the materials, emptying of their recycle bins more quickly instead of having to wait for trash day and directly helping their own community.
Advertise. Take out ads in your local paper that you accept magazines, newspapers, butcher's paper, tissue paper and gift wrap, and designate a day that the public can drop it off. Tell them you want paper that is clean and in good condition. Post notices in the local sections on sites like Craigslist and Freecycle.org (see Resources) that you need recycled paper.
Contact printers in your area to see if they are willing to depart with surplus or waste paper. Newspaper companies are another ideal source for finding recycled materials.
Hold an annual paper drive that doubles as a thank-you to your suppliers. Advertise the event to all the sources named in Steps 1 through 4. Hold the drive at a fun location, like a park or a boardwalk, and spring for free drinks, food, family entertainment and raffle prizes. The goodwill gesture is also a business benefit, because your publicity department can contact media outlets about the drive, thereby raising awareness that your company needs material and offering people another outlet for recycling.
Buy the product from a vendor. The first step, as always when it comes to recycling, is to think locally. Use your telephone book to see if a vendor is based near you so you can reduce your carbon footprint from delivering the product. Papernuts.com, Nashville Wraps.com and UFP Technologies (see Resources) are companies that sell a variety of packaging products.
Christa Titus is a dedicated journalism professional with over 10 years writing experience as a freelancer with a variety of publications that include "Billboard" and "Radio & Records." Her writing has also been syndicated to such media outlets as the "Washington Post," the "Seattle-Post Intelligencer," the Associated Press and Reuters. Titus earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Rowan College.