Working Green: Top Tips to Reduce Your Office’s Waste

Green living is more than just a buzz word or ‘trend’ now. More people are implementing everyday techniques to reduce their ecological footprint. Creating a sustainable environment isn’t just about thinking green at home though. Businesses are thinking green too – and the benefits are priceless.

Managing and reducing your office’s waste promotes you as a green company. Green offices that practice efficient waste management can reduce landfill waste by up to 90%. And the more people on board with it, the better world we’re creating. It’s not hard to reduce waste within your office either, it’s simply about using logical and practical solutions. The benefits to your cash flow and the environment will be huge. Here’s where to start:

Avoid Using the Printer

The printer is a big culprit when it comes to office waste. In this day of age where almost everything is digital, we can start stepping back from printing everyday documents. Take advantage of online tools like Google Spreadsheets and Project Management Systems for internal use to avoid printing. If you do need to print, keep it black and white where possible and use both sides of the paper. You can conserve printer ink by printing in draft mode too. Encourage ‘think before you print’ communication with staff by adding a simple reminder to everyone’s email signature.

Introduce Recycling and Compost Bins

Encourage your team to recycle by providing the right bins. Many offices, especially smaller firms, use the one bin or just a couple for mixed general waste. It’s a lot more cost-effective to recycle than send waste to landfill. With the proper bins in place and staff encouraged to use them, this problem is easily rectified. Make sure there are multiple bins supplied in the office. Each staff member should have their own paper waste bin, while a generic bin for recycling waste streams and a separate bin for food waste should also be provided in each office or on every floor. Consider bin capacity and collection frequencies when you’re planning your waste management.

If you can, utilise a compost bin for food waste. This will take office waste reduction to a whole new level! If it’s not possible to do this in your office environment, ask whether there are staff members who can utilise food waste for their own personal compost bins at home.

Eliminate Paper Wastage

Paper is the single biggest contributor to waste in the office. Utilise emails and to-do tools online to distribute memos or remind yourself of tasks. You can save a significant amount of wastage avoiding sticky notes and other paper when technology is at the tip of your fingers! Sticky notes can’t be recycled either because of the sticky residue, so opt for a Windows version of ‘Sticky Notes’ instead. Printing on both sides of the paper will cut your paper consumption in half and save money.

Be Conscious about Packaging

Cut down on packaging by communicating your needs to distributers and suppliers. There can be a lot of unnecessary packaging with office deliveries that can be eliminated by a simple request to cut back on packing material. Alternatively, try and make use of these empty boxes once the delivery has been made. Can you reuse them for packaging or give them away to staff who may be moving house? And the same applies for you! If you’re sending out packaged items to clients, be conscious of how much you’re using.

Provide Decent Coffee

It’s not just there to keep staff motivated and alert for the job at hand, but offering decent coffee eliminates the need for employees to purchase take away cups of coffee. If you invest in a small coffee machine for the office kitchen and have coffee, tea, milk and sugar topped up, staff are less likely going to purchase a take away from the local coffee shop. Your employees will thank you for the money saving and the environment will be healthier for it.

Reuse, Recycle, Reuse!

Change your way of thinking and get into the habit of reusing. Instead of throwing old paper documents away that are now filed on the computer, shred them and reuse the waste as packing material. Purchase recycled paper which is chlorine free or consider alternative options like bamboo and organic cotton. If office furniture is looking like it has seen better days, try repairing first before ditching. When you do require new furniture, recycle the old by donating or selling it on. Opt for second-hand furniture over brand new too. It’s amazing what you can find out there when you start looking for the right things.

Creating a green working environment is easy. Get your team on board by keeping lines of communication open, encouraging incentives to eliminate office waste effectively and all be on the same wave length. Your wallet, clients and environment will thank you for it. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your office waste management plan.