How to Reduce Waste at the Office

Companies have become much more conscious of the environment in the last few years. As more people are recycling at home, they tend to carry that concern into the workplace. If your business is required to comply with the ISO14001 Environmental Standard, you probably already have an environmental core team to coordinate recycling efforts at work.

For those business owners who haven’t assigned a team responsible for reducing waste, however, there are still many ways that you can encourage your employees to recycle and reduce waste. “Going green” doesn’t have to cost a lot and can actually save your company money in the long run.

Reducing Waste

  • Go as paperless as possible. While there are still some circumstances where paper is required, such as shipping labels, many of the everyday items you print out can be handled electronically instead. One of the biggest paper abusers is the weekly or monthly report you print for the boss and team members. Instead of printing out those lengthy reports, send them electronically through your email system. You should also consider having paperless meetings. Rather than passing handouts to everyone, set up a computer and then project your information on a screen.
  • If you need to print something, consider double-sided printing. It will help cut your paper usage substantially.
  • Place a paper recycling bin in each cubicle or workstation, if possible, or at convenient locations throughout the office. Label the bin with a paper recycling tag, or better yet, purchase a special color of bins and train your employees to use those bins for paper recycling only.
  • Set up a recycling center where employees can discard such things as plastic, returnable bottles and other recyclables. A smart place to set this up would be in a coffee break room or lunchroom where people typically generate the most waste. Label the bins clearly so there is no confusion about what goes where. Discuss container options and placement with a commercial waste management consultant. They can give you some great tips on making your recycling center a success.
  • As much as possible, discourage the use of paper plates, cups and plastic silverware. Provide the real versions for use instead.
  • Buy supplies in bulk. Not only will it save money, but it will significantly reduce the amount of packaging that comes with buying in smaller quantities.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to recycle in your office, and if done right, it can actually save you money. The environment will certainly appreciate the effort.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.