Workplace waste reduction has three main benefits – it saves you money, it saves the environment, and it’s good for your business image.
Waste is relatively easy to handle with these effective tips and strategies for reusing, re-purposing, and recycling.
Benefits of Waste Reduction
Let’s start on cost savings. By simply using email for correspondence, paper and postage costs are minimized. Encourage employees to bring their own reusable tableware and you won’t have to purchase disposable ones.
Waste reduction can also free up significant storage space. For instance, installing cloth towel dispensers or hand dryers eliminates the need to store large quantities of paper towels. The same goes with reusing file folders and envelopes.
New Zealanders dispose of an estimated 2.46 million tonnes of waste to landfills each year. Less office waste means less trash. You are on your way to making a positive impact on the environment.
According to a study, 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t. This just shows that going green can help you establish your company’s image as a good corporate steward.
How to be a Waste-aware Business?
Perform waste audit. To reduce the amount of waste you create, find out what and how much you are creating in the first place. A waste audit can will help identify current waste practices and how they can be improved.
Reduce as much as possible. In New Zealand, paper represents 7% of wastes, equivalent to approximately 200,000 tonnes. Go paper-less and use e-mail. Opt for reusable products instead of reusable ones. Choose suppliers who minimise or collect their packaging.
Reuse and save. Reusing items lets you avoid having to buy new ones. For instance, misprinted or draft papers can have a number of other uses. Kitchen scraps can be reused as compost for plants and gardens.
Recycle what you can. For a successful recycling program, make sure to get everyone involved. Announce by email or memo that a waste reduction drive is about to be implemented. Include the process to be followed on how the recyclables will be collected and disposed of.
What Items Can You Recycle?
Combining the three Rs’ is important if you’re looking to save on costs. For an office setup, note the items that can be recycled for everyone to know. Waste materials of high value include aluminum cans, printer cartridges, and toners.
Other common recyclable items in an office include:
- Waste paper, unwanted notes and files, used envelopes
- Old magazines, newspapers, and stationery
- Discarded cardboard boxes, used for packaging
- Obsolete computers
- Toner and printer cartridges
- Cell phones that are not in use
Waste Reduction and Recycling Ideas
Computers, paper wastes, and too much electricity use can make a huge impact on the environment. Here’s are a few ways to reduce your office’s effect.
- Put paper recycling receptacles next to the printer, copier, and fax machine so the staff can deposit unwanted paper in them.
- Print only what is really necessary, otherwise e-mail the information. Printing lesser significant documents on both sides can reduce paper consumption by half.
- Instead of providing paper towels for the washroom, you can install warm air hand dryers or cloth towel dispensers.
- Offer PDF versions of huge employee handbooks or manuals instead of printing them out. This way, you can save both ink and paper.
- Computer and hardware manufacturers have recycling or trade-in programs. You can bring cell phones, computers, and printers that are too old to be useful to them.
- Shutdown and unplug personal computers, copiers, and printers when not in use and remind your colleagues to do the same.
- When buying equipment, invest in lasting, energy-efficient models. You’ll avoid having to buy new ones and help lessen manufacturing waste.
- Almost all of the materials used to make inkjet cartridges are recyclable. You can reuse your inkjet cartridges or refill them.
Glass is 100 percent recyclable. Once you have collected a sufficient number of bottles and jars, you can bring them to your nearest glass manufacturer. Remove contaminants such as lids, corks and caps.
Two types of plastics are commonly recycled include those used for soft drink packaging and the ones used to make plastic milk and detergent bottles. Follow instructions from your local drop-off centres for Kerbside collection.
- As mentioned earlier, provide reusable tableware in the staff break room instead of using disposable ones.
- Low-flow faucets and toilets in restrooms and other common areas can help conserve water.
- Discuss cleaning supplies with your maintenance crew. Use solutions that are biodegradable for a safer, cleaner environment.
Get these useful tips implemented in your office for a better and greener workplace.
Image via Flickr byWalmart