Businesses are more aware of their carbon footprint than ever, so are making a lot of changes to reduce their negative impact on the environment. An easy way to have a more positive environmental impact is to find simple ways to reduce waste in the workplace. Find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in your workplace. 

  1. Cut out single-use drink containers for guests. If you have clients in the office for meetings, don’t automatically offer water in a plastic bottle or disposable plastic cup. These often don’t get disposed of in the recycling bin but are instead get forgotten in meeting rooms, half-finished. Somebody will eventually empty them down the sink and chuck the bottle or cup in the trash. This wastes both water and plastic. Instead, offer everyone who comes in a drink in a mug or glass. Why not get branded mugs made for your business? 
  2. Use water coolers. This is a great alternative to using bottled water. Buy a water cooler to offer water with less plastic waste. Don’t buy sleeves of single-use plastic cups, and instead provide staff with reusable water bottles or glasses. 
  3. Recycle old printer cartridges. Instead of throwing away empty printer cartridges, have them refilled or sent off to be recycled. You could also sell unused ink cartridges.  
  4. Bring lunches in reusable containers. Encourage staff to bring lunch from home instead of buying lunch in takeout packaging. Paper and paperboard make up a huge amount of the waste generated from most workplaces, which means it isn’t being recycled. Don’t bring it in at all, if you can help it. 
  5. Take paperless notes. Instead of taking notebooks into meetings, take a tablet or laptop. Don’t write your notes down by hand, and instead type them out. This reduces paper waste, as notes are usually thrown out after they have been typed up anyway. Typing them to start with saves time, and on paper waste. 
  6. Use both sides of the paper, when printing, copying, or writing notes. Most office printers can be set up to automatically print on both sides of the paper. Change your printer settings to do this. If you do need to take notes on paper, write on both sides so you can use a lot less paper.
  7. Reuse one-sided misprints for scrap paper or plain paper faxes. Faxes only use one side of the paper, so a misprint can be used if one side is blank. Scrap paper is often needed for quick notes. People will often grab a new sheet of paper from the pack or out of the printer without thinking, so put misprints or other waste paper in a box, so it can be easily accessed for quick paper needs. 
  8. Send emails instead of paper memos. Paper memos are wasteful, so send emails for as much of your communication as possible. Email is ideal for communication within and outside of the office, as you have a record of everything that has been sent, whereas paper memos can easily be misplaced.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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