For many of us, a large portion of our days are spent at work. In fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours (about 10 and a half years) at work over a lifetime. This means that, if each of us made a few small changes to work more sustainably, we could make a big impact.

Using products made with sustainable ingredients, such as soy, is a good place to start. Many items found around an office, including ink, cleaners and furniture now come in bio-based versions, often made with soy.

Let’s discover the soy-based products that can help make your 9-5 a little greener.

Soy-based Inks

It would be difficult to run an office without printing anything! In the 1970s, ink was primarily made with petroleum, but when petroleum prices began to rise, the Newspaper Association of America started to explore cheaper alternatives. After testing various formulations, researchers found that ink made with soybean oil was the best fit for newspapers’ needs.

In addition to being more cost effective, soy-based ink has a smaller carbon footprint and is less of a risk to human health than traditional petroleum-based inks. In fact, soy-based inks produce over 80% less hazardous compounds than petroleum-based inks. If you’d like to take a cue from the publishing industry and start using pens that are eco-friendly, consider Eco Pen’s Earth Pen or Onyx + Green’s Bamboo Gel Pen which are made with natural materials and use soy-based ink.

Soy-based inks aren’t just found in pens or printers — they can be used for a variety of applications, such as paper, clothing, product packaging and more, and they provide a sharper, brighter printed image.

Does your company provide shirts for employees? Next time, request that they’re printed with soy- based ink, and see if you notice a difference!

Soy-based Furniture

Onto one of the most important (and comfy) parts of any office space – the furniture. When it comes to selecting an office chair, not only is it important to select one with proper back support, it’s also important to consider what material the cushions are made from. Traditionally, office furniture is made with petroleum-based chemicals, which have a significant environmental impact during production, as well as a possible human health risk due to off-gassing, which is the release of potentially harmful gasses over time.

Luckily, U.S. Soy has been working in partnership with manufacturers to create a more sustainable option. In partnership with U.S. Soy, Cargill developed soy-based polyols for manufacturers to replace traditional petroleum-based polyols, which are commonly used in furniture cushions. Cargill’s soy-based BiOH® polyols perform the same as petroleum-based polyols. These BiOH polyols yield consistent, high- quality foam and require less non-renewable energy, resulting in less carbon emissions than petroleum- based polyols.

One company utilizing Cargill’s BiOH® polyols foam is Century®. The furniture company incorporates the innovative foam into their sofas and chairs – the perfect addition to any office!

Need a new office chair? Check out ReGeneration by Knoll®. This office chair is made from post- consumer plastic as well as plant-based materials, such as soy and corn. How cool is that?

Choosing sustainable products for your workplace can help reduce your carbon footprint away from home. Start the conversation with your team on small steps that you can all take to make a large impact

over time. You can start by checking out our list of soy-based products to find sustainable solutions that help you “go green” at work.

And, if you want to learn more about other places soy shows up in your life beyond food, explore soy’s role in personal care products and learn how to enhance your home with soy-based products.