In today’s corporate world, the vast majority of adults spend most of their time at work. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the waste we produce also happens during working time. We dispose of plenty of office supplies throughout the day and like to eat snacks and have lunch at our desk. All these activities create waste.
You may not often think about it, but waste is a major problem in today’s world. And since we’re spending most of our time at work, our behavior in the office has a major influence on our waste production. This is, however, easy to forget as we’re not the ones emptying the bins at our workplace. Hence, we often don’t think about it how much waste we produce during the day. Even if we’re trying to live a sustainable life at home, our behavior in the office has a major impact on how green we are.
Nowadays, more and more companies are trying to go green. One of the biggest steps in doing so is to change the behavior of their employees, especially concerning waste production. In reality, however, it is much more difficult than it may seem to inform and control hundreds of people about their corporate waste production. This is why we have listed down some useful tips and tricks on how to reduce office waste. By following these steps yourself and sharing them with your colleagues, you’ll be able to cut down office waste with a minimum effort.
How to reduce paper waste
No matter where you work, paper waste is likely going to be the number one polluter in your office. The truth is, at almost every working place, paper is everywhere. Whether it’s regular printing paper or small sticky notes, it seems that there never is enough paper in the office. Because there is so much paper around, people tend to deal with it not carefully nor sustainably. As such, a lot of paper is disposed of unnecessarily which is bad for the environment and a waste of good materials that could still be used. This is why we’d like to share with you these simple tips on how to reduce your office’s paper waste.
Don’t print unless necessary: inform your employees not to use the printer unless completely necessary. Also, instead of using paper notes personal use, simply use digital notes on the PC. These are just as effective and create no waste.
Always print double-sided: in case you have to print something, make sure to always print double-sided. This simple step already helps you to cut down paper waste with a stunning 50%.
Implement writing guidelines: an effective way to fight unnecessary paper waste is to implement office guidelines on how to write documents and files. The guidelines can include simple rules such as using a smaller font to write to save paper.
Use notebooks with narrow lines: when you purchase office supplies, make sure to get notebooks with narrow lines. These books force your employees to write smaller, thus letting them add more words onto a single page.
Always reuse the boxes: every office has an abundance of boxes. Make sure not to throw these away right away. Boxes can be used as storage bins or to collect used paper before throwing them away together with the other waste.
Use recycled paper: a simple way to go green as a company is to use recycled printing paper instead of regular paper. Besides recycled paper, there are other environmentally friendly paper options made from bamboo, cotton, or hemp.
Don’t stick to unnecessary magazine subscriptions: many companies have an abundance of magazine subscriptions, most of which are completely unnecessary. Make sure to check what magazine subscriptions you need and cancel the ones that you don’t.
Install hand dryers: another big source of paper waste production in the office are paper towels. Luckily, it is very easy to reduce this source of waste production by simply installing some electric hand dryers.
Keep your documentation online: instead of wholesale printing all your files, keep them backed-up online in the cloud. Not only is this safer and cheaper, but it will also significantly reduce paper waste.
Recycle the paper that you do use: sure, we all understand that not a single office can be 100% paper-free. Therefore, we urge everybody to recycle the paper they do use in the office. By doing so, you’ll still be able to work sustainably and reduce your impact on the environment.
How to reduce non-paper waste:
Besides paper, there are plenty of other sources of waste in the office. Think for instance about used-up office supplies or empty lunch containers. Just like paper, non-paper products also are a major source of office waste production. The most efficient want to cut down on non-paper waste is to switch from disposable to reusable goods. Below, we have listed down some tips that will help you in reducing your non-paper office waste.
Use your own cup: paper and plastic cups are a major polluter in every office. As such, it is highly recommended to urge your employees to bring their own cup or bottle from home. It is advised to bring a glass or aluminum bottle instead of plastic as plastic may be harmful to your health and the environment. Also, urge employees not to take bottled water from outside into the office. Instead, they can drink tap water in their own bottle or cup.
Use reusable lunch boxes: just like disposable cups, disposable lunch boxes are a major polluter. As such, it’s advised to urge your colleagues to cook at home and bring their lunch in their own, reusable, lunch box. Just as with bottles, it is advised to use a glass or tin containers rather than plastic.
Use reusable office supplies: every day, we dispose of plenty of cheap office supplies such as ink cartridges and pens. The truth is, however, that if we invest a bit more money into these supplies, we can use reusable options instead. By doing so, you won’t only reduce waste, but also save money in the long run. It is furthermore advised to stay away from electric gadgets that need batteries such as electric pencil sharpeners. Instead, simply use manual gadgets. They are more affordable and produce no toxic waste.
Use automatic light switches: we may not often think about it, but one of the biggest office polluters is invisible energy waste. Many offices leave their computers and lights on overnight, which creates an unnecessary demand for energy. An easy way to reduce electricity waste is by using automatic switches in the office of PIR motion detection sensors. By using these gadgets, you can make sure that no lights stay on after everybody has gone home. Also, urge your employees to fully close down their computers before they go home and, instead of using regular light bulbs, use LED bulbs instead.
Reduce packaging waste and recycle: not all the waste we produce in the company remains in our own facilities. Think about packaging waste, for example. The way you package your goods that are shipped out to clients has a major influence on your own and their waste production. It is advised not to use too large boxes so that you won’t have to fill them with Styrofoam or bubble wrap. In case your products do need some production inside of the box, try using shredded paper of old office documents instead. By doing so, you’ll reduce your own and other’s packaging waste. Packaging materials that you receive and cannot be reused for your clients are best off being recycled. By reducing, reusing, and recycling packaging materials, you’ll be well on your way towards a green and more sustainable corporate future.