Six University Teams from Across the Globe Showcase their Innovative Green Ideas to Win the Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge and $25,000 Grand Prize

Starting March 8 Vote to Help Select the Winning Team

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 8:00 am EST

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SPLS
"The global response to our challenge to redesign widely used, everyday office supplies further strengthens our international efforts to find quality sustainable office product solutions for the planet we all live on."

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Students who think green, could win green in the Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge. Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), the world’s largest office products company, and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), today announce finalists for the 2nd Annual Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge – an international competition, inspiring university students to develop environmentally-preferable office products. The finalist teams from universities in India, Singapore, China, Ireland and the United States will present their ideas to a panel of judges on April 12, 2011. On April 13, 2011, an awards ceremony will be held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where the winning team will receive $25,000 and two runner-up teams will receive $5,000 each, plus royalties should any concept be brought to market.

For the first time, you can help determine the winner by voting online at https://ecoeasychallenge.com from March 8 - 22, 2011. The public can vote once a day for his/her favorite sustainable office product concept, and the public vote will count toward each team’s final score.

“This year, we received a record number of entries from around the world,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs for Staples. “The global response to our challenge to redesign widely used, everyday office supplies further strengthens our international efforts to find quality sustainable office product solutions for the planet we all live on.”

“Global awareness and demand among young people for sustainable products is increasing,” said Dr. Nabil Nasr, assistant provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. “We’ve learned from these students that sustainability is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Their enthusiasm and excitement for innovative, sustainable designs is an encouraging sign of the growing sense of environmental responsibility.”

Details on the finalist teams are below, including their university and concept information:

Team Cyrus from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Adjustable Standard Binder

An adjustable binder made of recycled materials. The binder can expand to hold 200 to 600 sheets of paper, equivalent to one- to three-inch binders. When the binder fills up, the user simply adjusts the binder to fit more paper instead of buying a new one.

Team EcoZeal from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India

Eco-TapeCutter

A lightweight tape cutter that can be adjusted to fit varying tape sizes and widths, made with 30 percent less material than typical dispensers. This allows users to have one dispenser made of environmentally-preferable materials and reduce the tape dispenser bulk and clutter.

Team Silver Monkeys from the University of Cincinnati, United States

Folio

This portfolio-style binder is about half the size of a three-ring binder, and secures paper so it won’t slip out as it can when in a folder. The Folio is made of a material that not only allows it to expand to fit both smaller and larger amounts of paper, it’s also reusable.

Team GreenSparkle from Tsinghua University, China

Reusable Container of Glue Stick

Glue sticks are usually thrown away when the glue runs out, but by using a reusable glue stick container, this waste is eliminated. Rather than purchasing a new glue stick when the glue runs out, the container can simply be refilled.

Team Simplicity from the University of Cincinnati, United States

Spin Pad

A sleek reusable notepad made of recycled and biodegradable materials, and is designed to eliminate individual paper waste. The Spin Pad can hook onto key rings or handbags, so notes and lists can be carried anywhere with ease.

Team Silver Monkeys from the University of Cincinnati, United States

The EcoEasy Button

The EcoEasy Button is an evolution in surge protector design that is made of environmentally-preferable materials, and can be placed on the user’s desk for easy access. It also alerts the user when their devices have been draining energy for extended periods of time.

Team Bolton from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

Eco-Tab

Instead of using a metal staple, this device creates a strong hold on documents without wasting material to secure it. This is an environmentally-preferable solution to the everyday stapler.

About Staples’ Environmental Commitment

Staples long-standing commitment to sustainable business practices is based on four key environmental cornerstones: recycling, offering a wide assortment of eco-preferable products, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy and educating customers and associates about sustainability. Through its EcoEasy commitment, Staples makes it easy for customers to make a difference for the environment by offering more than 3,000 eco-preferable products and providing everyday, in-store recycling for computers, office technology, personal electronics and ink and toner cartridges. For more on Staples environmental initiatives, please visit www.staples.com/ecoeasy.

About Staples

Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.

Follow Staples on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/staplestweets and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/staples.

About the Golisano Institute for Sustainability

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was formed in 2007 thanks to a $10 million gift from Paychex founder and Chairman B. Thomas Golisano. The institute currently houses one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in sustainable production and is developing master’s degrees in sustainable systems and sustainable architecture. It also conducts cutting edge research in nanotechnology, alternative energy development and validation, sustainable design and pollution prevention and works with a host of businesses and state and federal agencies including Xerox Corp., Eastman Kodak Company, General Motors, Staples, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Staples, Inc.
Nina Akerley, 508-253-1078
Nina.Akerley@staples.com
or
Tilson Communications
Jackie Guzman, 561-998-1995
jguzman@tilsonpr.com


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