Monday, September 28, 2009

Misleading Buzz Words

Here is a great BLOG entry from our new cardboard binder supplier (as I wrote about on September 25th)

Misleading Buzz Words = Customer Confusion

by brad on July 21, 2009

This type of stuff really floors me. As I walk down the aisles of big box office supply stores, it never ceases to amaze me that the “eco product choices” someone at corporate has made aren’t really better than the non eco counterpart. I’m wondering if they really want to make a difference or do they do it just to confuse customers? This particular 3 ring binder really jumped out at me while I was swimming through the sea of vinyl… A fine example of misleading buzz words of product attributes that are unregulated and unwarranted.

  • 100% Recyclable - Not without a lot of work. You need an Exacto knife to get through the plastic cover and a welding torch get the ring metals removed.
  • 100% Biodegradable - Nope. - Our landfills entomb our garbage. Without heat, moisture or microorganisms, even organic matter won’t biodegrade.
  • 70% Post Consumer Waste - Maybe the inside board covered in plastic?
  • No V.O.C.’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) - True, but if you eliminated the polypropylene plastic that covers the binder, this would be a moot point.

While I take the time to research these claims, most consumers do not have the time and make buying decisions based on trust of what has been printed. If manufacturers would make better products instead of sugar coating the same old trash, the world would be a much better place.

Great story Brad!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Sustainable and Green Office Products

Our purchasing department is always on the lookout for new and exciting items to bring to our clients.

One such item and company we have been in discussions with for almost a year is a fantastic supplier of cardboard office supplies. In particular they have a line of cardboard binders that we have wanted to carry. Recently we became a distributor of the product line and are now able to offer our customers prices similar to or lower than a regular plastic binder.

Looks for a full line of cardboard office supplies and more info coming soon. Here is a sneak peek!

3 Ring Binders

The ReBinder is the world's only FSC Certified Binder. By choosing a ReBinder over the 3 ring vinyl binder, you lower your carbon footprint, save money and deliver an awesome message about your commitment

ReBinder provides an ecological solution for office products that no other can claim. Our corrugated cardboard binders are 70% Recycled (at least 40% Post Consumer Recycled) and are the best alternative to toxic vinyl binders.

ReBinder recycled binders are very durable and more resistant to spine-tearing than the traditional vinyl binders. ReBinder is truly recyclable and reusable because it is a corrugated cardboard binder. Vinyl binders are neither recyclable nor reusable.

Unlike other binders that use rivets to attach their ring metals, ReBinder's ring metals are affixed using two screws and t-nuts that can be easily unassembled and "reused" without any waste. We believe it's unlikely you'll ever need to replace your ReBinder cover, but if you do, it can be recycled back into the system and kept out of the landfill. Replacement covers are available for purchase for less than purchasing a new binder. Available in 1", 2" and 3" sizes.

Why ReBinder?

  • It's The Original - A Brand You Can TRUST!
  • Because those OTHER Binders end up in a landfill
  • Made from rigid, recycled corrugated cardboard
  • Easy to Recycle your old cover
  • Easy to Replace it with a new cover
  • Save Money, Save Time & Save Mother Earth


Monday, September 14, 2009

What we do for the H1N1 Flu

You could say that the H1N1 flu epidemic has a direct effect on our average work day at Costless Express. Everyone in our sales team and even our marketing department has been busy trying to help our customers prepare. We understand that everyone wants to protect their employees and their families from any sort of germs going around.

It is interesting to see reports of the epidemic on the news and the way people are preparing. I can't say that I feel the urge to to wear a face mask in public, but I have been reaching for the hand sanitizer a bit more often that usual. I dont know a lot of details about who is actually getting H1N1. It seems like a healthy diet and a healthy body is just as important as using hand sanitizer and washing our hands properly. It is much easier to catch all that junk if we don't have healthy immune systems to begin with.

Those opinions aside, in the healthcare and government sectors, keeping your hands germ free is crucial. At work, we all have these little Purell Pals on our desk: (You can get your own Pals here.)

Here are some other great products from Purell that are great ways to keep your hands clean and avoid germs.

Purell NXT Space Saver Hand Sanitizer Dispenser and Refill
Promotes hand hygiene by killing most common germs without need for soap and water. The perfect duo. Ask us about FREE wall dispensers for your office!

Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer with Aloe
Kills 99.99% of common germs that may cause illness, without soap or water. Plus, aloe always feels really nice, and light green is such a soothing color.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red Totes

Stacks of red totesHave you ever had a great idea in a meeting, and it actually got off the ground and turned into something great?

For our management team - there was a meeting about 3 years back when we came up with the idea to introduce totes instead of cardboard boxes for every delivery. Costless Express was committed to becoming carbon neutral, and many of our meetings revolved around reduction of waste materials in our logistics and distribution system. We went ahead and researched and tested the concept, then implemented tens of thousands of dollars worth of plastic reusable totes into our system.

Today we use our very handy RED TOTES for all deliveries on our trucks. We are in negotiations currently with our suppliers to encourage them to accept our red totes from us, so they too can ship product into our building with minimal or no extra packaging. This would truly be an exciting step by involving our supply partners in our reduction and environmental plan.

Costless will save 200,000 cardboard boxes from the landfill. Although we are actually ELIMINATING the use of cardboard in our distribution - here are some interesting facts about recycling cardboard.

Here's a few reasons why recycled cardboard and paper products can make a real difference for the environment:

  • Paper and cardboard account for 41% of all municipal solid waste.
  • Recycling 1 Ton of Cardboard saves 682 Gallons of oil
  • Recycling 1 Ton of Cardboard saves 7,000 Gallons of water
  • Recycling 1 Ton of Cardboard saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Recycling 1 Ton of Cardboard save about 17 trees
  • Recycled cardboard requires 645% less energy than make cardboard from virgin wood pulp, the equivalent of 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Save 8% at G&T — "Just don't log in"

I had a similar circumstance to the Office Depot story I wrote about on September 1st, but with Grand & Toy. We were quoting on supplies for a large company who used G&T. The purchaser was too busy to give us his data so instead he just supplied us his user name and password to the G&T website.

We logged in and did an in-depth analysis and found some perplexing yet exciting discoveries.

When we met again with the prospective customer, I said "I can save you 8% on your whole G&T budget in three words - DON'T LOG IN"

What we found was, if the customer DID NOT use the User Name and Password when he went to the G&T website, the prices were actually cheaper over all. Have you had any experiences like this dealing with a big box company like G&T or CORPORATE EXPRESS? I would love to know.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ahhh, Good Old Office Depot. Busted Again.

If you Google about them, you'll find many stories recently about different US state agencies and corporations suing or investigating them for incorrect pricing. Even Ahhnold in California is investigating them.

What's happened is that with new web crawling technology (like our Price Spider) and powerful computer analytics, the big box office supply companies are getting caught with their proverbial pricing hand in the cookie jar. In the past, customers and small competitors never had the technology to data mine the confusing contracts and look for compliance, or review if they were getting a better price than the regular public.

Former account manager in Office Depot's Business Solutions Division, David Sherwin, a protected whistle-blower in Florida where the company is headquartered, has been credited with the launching of the investigations.

Have a look at this news story from Television Station CBS Atlanta.