About Our Research


Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Sustainability 101 Educational Video

This project intends to inform individuals about the impact they have when making a purchasing decision as it relates to the environment and sustainability as a whole. This video provides an overview of sustainability in its simplest generic te`rms, so that the viewer has an understanding of the concept of sustainability and how purchasing decisions can impact the world around them.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Alternate Fiber Paper Assessment

This project assessed the print quality and runability of alternative fiber papers and determined if there was a performance difference between alternative and tree fiber that would impact the environmental message. Testing results showed a measurable decrease in performance in some alternative fiber papers that would likely change consumer behavior and thus change the environmental preference message.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Evaluating Greener Design Alternatives for Office Furniture at Affordable Price Points

This project identified sustainable office furniture design choices through a literature review of industry standards, manufacturing practices and life cycle assessments. In addition, multiple new chairs were purchased, disassembled, and rated for sustainable attributes. This data can be used to support sustainable design decisions for future office furniture designs and concepts.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Remanufacturing Toner Cartridges More Than Once

This project investigated and identified the success criteria that would facilitate and encourage the reuse of laser printer toner cartridges beyond a second life cycle. The intent is to facilitate the reuse of cores that have already experienced one to multiple life cycles.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

IAQ in the Office Environment: Prioritizing Products for Future Innovation

This project conducted a comprehensive literature review to establish a standard range of concentrations at which compounds are typically present in office environments. A total of 20 unique compounds were identified across the four geographic profiles.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Life cycle environmental assessment of the office product "ecosystem"

This study expanded upon typical “per product” LCA approaches to analyze the entire office product ecosystem to prioritize future improvements. Key discoveries include how offices make changes in equipment and technology more often on a reactionary basis, or in conjunction with another endogenous (e.g., downsizing) or exogenous (e.g., HIPAA) event.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Multi-stakeholder perspectives on sustainable office product design

This project analyzed the multi-disciplinary process by which sustainable products are formulated, implemented, and assessed. Research on sustainability outcomes and curricular mechanisms were combined to develop an integrated educational and research framework for designing green office products of the future.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Chair 99

Students enrolled in an Industrial Design graduate-level class were challenged to design a low-cost office chair with the general constraint that the product will need to be returned at its end of life. They were presented with the information gathered in the "Evaluating greener design alternatives for office furniture at affordable price points" project. This project summarizes their novel solutions.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Building Data Analysis of Selected Staples Buildings

Staples has been storing building data from their warehouses for several years, but some of the stored data has not been used in operations. The objective of this project was to perform a preliminary set of exploratory analyses and illustrate possibilities in building data analytics. This study demonstrated that extracted information could lead to decision-support tools for reducing energy consumption, reducing peak demand, and improving systems maintenance and overall reliability.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Fuel Cell-Powered Material Handling Equipment

In large industrial facilities, there are a wide array of systems that could potentially be converted to fuel cells, including material handling equipment (MHE), stationary electricity generation with combined heat and power (CHP), and transport vehicles. This Phase 1 study focuses on the MHE application. The outcome of this project will provide guidance in future research phases covering fuel cell stationary power, vehicle transport and hydrogen production via electrolysis powered by wind/solar energy assets.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Label Matrix Waste

A significant volume of labels are printed by Staples and the label industry per year generating hundreds of thousands of tons of waste material that is traditionally landfilled at a significant financial and environmental cost. This project built a life-cycle assessment to evaluate the impacts of diverting this waste from the landfill via various design, manufacturing, or end-of-life strategies. Alternative strategies included: material reduction, process optimization, and incineration.

Assessing the Firm-Level Implications of a Transition to a Circular Economy

The finite nature of many of the natural resources that humans rely on is an issue of growing concern. The Circular Economy represents a fundamentally new way of organizing industrial and commercial activities to enable supply systems that also capture and repurpose valuable materials via a circular model. This project seeks to support the development of a circular-system design methodology for durable office products.

Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab

Measuring Indoor Air Contaminants in the Office Environment

The “IAQ in the Office Environment” project identified 20 unique compounds present in the office environment. While the most recent data in the literature was used for the study, much of the data was 10+ years old. To increase the confidence of our results and ensure they are the most representative of current conditions, this project will measure the indoor air of current offices and compare these results to the literature review results. This will add to the robustness of our current results and ensure they are representative of current conditions and product formulations.

Waste Cherry Pit

Waste Paper Derived Biochar for Sustainable Printing Products

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) performed a research assessment in conjunction with the Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory (SSIL) to determine the potential of pyrolyzed waste paper as a novel, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable black pigment for use in common consumer and commercial printing applications (e.g. inkjet, lithography and flexography). The primary focus of the project was the creation and testing of a stable form of elemental carbon called “biochar” (BC) to replace the fuel oil derived “carbon black” (CB) pigment used in inks since the late 1800’s. Reducing the use of CB would lessen the demand for fossil fuels, decrease printing’s environmental impact and potentially save money since biochars are typically created from free or low cost waste feedstocks which would ordinarily be disposed.

The Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab at RIT

The SSIL serves as a high-impact research and education hub that assists in the deployment of innovative and sustainable business practices.

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GIS Research Centers

The Staples Sustainable Innovation Laboratory