Walk into a typical office supply store and you’ll be greeted with a depressing array of cheap, generic-looking plastic products emitting the oh-so-tantalizing scent of off-gassing carcinogens. But there’s a magical happy place at the intersection of sustainability and design, where eco friendly products for the office can be super useful and even decorative, and it can be found on the Internet. Here are 8 items for both home workstations and the office, from cradle-to-cradle desk chairs to sculptural air purifiers.
Chikuno Cube Charcoal Air Purifier
Plants are one of the best, easiest and cheapest ways to purify the air in your workspace, but what about smells? You can’t control whether your colleague microwaves horrific-smelling foods for lunch or wears too much perfume, but you can control the odors in your own little work area with a small desktop purifier like the Chikuno Cube. This odorless cube is made from ultra-fine activated bamboo charcoal and clay minerals to absorb smells, and it has the look of a modern sculpture.
Cubicles are rarely pleasant places to work, but sometimes, you just need a little bit of privacy. The Atmos by Olero is a light, airy modular enclosure for any desk. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structures and the triangle-frame sculptures of Do Ho Suh, it sections off your workspace while still letting in light, and it looks nice, too.
Need an eco friendly desk lamp? Look no further than your nearest IKEA. Inexpensive and frill-free, this LED lamp gets its power from the sun, even though it’s designed for indoor use. It recharges in about 9-12 hours in sunlight, emits about the same amount of light as a 15-watt incandescent bulb, and will light at full power for three hours once charged. For each Sunnan lamp purchased, IKEA and UNICEF will give one to a child in a refugee camp or village with no electricity.
Plug your mp3 player into a USB-rechargeable speaker made of recycled pulp that doubles as desk decor. The Pulpop speaker has a ring-shaped chamber that amplifies sound way better than you’d expect from cardboard.
If you’re still in the habit of writing down quick notes instead of using your tablet or phone, you can save a whole lot of paper with a desktop dry-erase board. This one at Uncommon Goods is one example of a bamboo dry-erase board ideal for your to-do lists and random scribblings, and you can also turn any bamboo surface (or virtually any smooth surface at all) by coating it with a little bit of dry-erase sealant. Get the tutorial at Imulus.
Minimalist hairpin legs and a smooth surface make this desk by El Dot Designs a beautiful addition to the office, but it’s more than just a good-looking modern desk. It’s made of bamboo ply with a non-toxic, water-based finish and features a movable power supply with three outlets and two USB ports. It’s also got a magnetic dry-erase board and a bamboo bag hook on the underside.
Few things are more important in an office than the chair you’re sitting in all day long, day after day. There are lots of desk chairs out there that provide comfort and support for long work hours, but few of them are on their way to Cradle-to-Cradle certification. The Cobi Chair by Steelcase features a weight-activated adjustment mechanism that naturally puts you in the best position of comfort for your body, sensing your center of gravity. It’s a low-emitting product and has a sustainable lifecycle – the Steelcase Environmental Partnership program will help you responsibly resell, refurbish, donate or recycle the chair when it’s no longer useful to you.
Support your tablet or smart phone with the Lexon Zen Stand, a simple bamboo accessory with rubber stabilizers that will hold onto your gadget safely. It’s also super useful for reading recipes when you’re cooking, or using your phone like an alarm clock next to the bed.
All images courtesy manufacturers.
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