According to the EPA, the average office worker generates 2 lbs of paper waste everyday and 90 percent of all office waste is paper. With that much waste being created everyday offices are ideal spaces for recycling and waste reduction programs.
Read below for ways you can reduce waste in your office and implement a recycling program.
How to reduce waste in an office.
Reducing paper waste throughout an office.
- Think before you print.
Always ask yourself whether or not something needs to exist on paper. With tools like Google Docs, cloud sharing, and email, most information can stay in digital form.
- Ditch the post-it notes.
Try using scrap paper for notes as opposed to creating more waste with post-its.
- Reuse envelopes and packaging.
Whenever you receive a package, save the packaging as opposed to throwing it away. You can reuse the packaging.
Reducing waste in a break room.
- Ditch the K-cups.
Rather than investing in a single K-cup coffee maker, use a full pot coffee maker with a reusable filter.
- Encourage your associates to use silverware.
Rather than providing plasticware, encourage your associates to bring their own silverware or provide silverware to be washed and reused.
- Buy snacks in bulk.
Buying in bulk will reduce the amount of waste that is created from individually packaged items.
- Compost food scraps.
Things like tea bags, coffee grounds, and food waste can all be composted instead of thrown in the general waste.
- Use reusable cups and mugs.
Encourage your staff to use mugs and glasses, even when getting takeaway coffee. Not bringing paper cups into the office will reduce your waste dramatically.
Other ways to reduce waste.
- Select landscaping that requires less water and maintenance.
Choosing landscaping that takes fewer resources and produces less waste can make a big impact.
- Use fluorescent or LED bulbs.
Not only do LED bulbs need to be replaced less often, but they also use less energy.
- Provide filtered water.
Instead of plastic water bottles or a water cooler, have a standard water filter in your fridge or installed on the faucet.
How to start a recycling program in an office.
1. Target the right recyclables.
Conduct an audit of your workplace’s waste stream to identify and quantify potentially recyclable materials. Look for materials that present in significant quantities, are relatively free of contamination, and are easily separated from other materials.
2. Find a partner or vendor to collect the waste.
How will the waste be collected? And who will haul it away? Before you start a recycling program you need to answer these two questions.
3. Get the management team on board.
Done right, a recycling program boosts morale and facilitates team building. To get that support, target the right decision makers and gather all the necessary information: program costs and savings, public relations opportunities, and environmental benefits.
4. Organize waste collection.
Your objective should be to make it as easy as possible for your fellow employees to participate.
5. Choose the correct recycling containers.
Recycling containers should be easy to recognize and in easy-to-use places.
In an office setting, place a clearly marked recycling container at every desk.
Place larger collection containers in common areas (roughly one for every 15-20 employees).
Wherever possible, place recycling containers next to regular waste containers to facilitate separation.
6. Educate associates and get them involved.
Kick off the program with a presentation to the staff. Then post signs near the collection containers that clearly indicate what goes in and what should be kept out.
Now that you know how to reduce waste, you’ll need the right waste receptacles to support your efforts. Read our guide to choosing the best trash cans here.