30 Great Ways to Reduce your Office Waste

Waste is a hot topic at the moment with many of us concerned with the large amount of material being sent to landfill and the ongoing debate about EU recycling targets, as discussed last month. Everyone is asking themselves what they can do to reduce waste – this is especially true of offices, where large amounts of waste can be generated without any real need to do so. Try our top 30 tips to cut office waste this month (with the added bonus of save your business money).

  1. Use both sides of paper: When printing or using a photocopier its very simple to change the settings to print on both sides of the page. This will reduce your overall paper consumption by about fifty percent.
  2. Invest in good quality bins and label them well. Having clear labels will show your staff what rubbish should be put in which bin, this will really help your recycling effort.
  3. Reuse packing envelopes and parcels. Whenever you receive a package don’t just take the contents out and throw it away have a place to store the empty packets, apply labels and use them to send out items to clients.
  4. Try and use cloth tea-towels and hand-towels in the kitchen and bathroom, avoiding the use of paper towels and kitchen roll. Having to wash these may mean a bit more effort but in the long run, you will reduce the amount of paper products you waste.
  5. Only print if really necessary. Be strict with yourselves and your staff, make sure you only print items if you need to show someone away from the computer.
  6. Check your margins. Standard Word settings leave a huge margin and seriously reduce the amount of printable space per page. Reducing the setting means that less paper will be needed to print the same amount of information.
  7. Ditch the post-it notes. Why buy expensive coloured paper when you could reuse scrap paper to do the same job?
  8. 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.
  9. Use your printer settings effectively. If you do print something for the office use the ‘fast’ or ‘draft’ settings, it uses a considerably lower amount of ink.
  10. Buy refillable ink cartridges. These have been around for a long time now and it means that instead of throwing away empty cartridges you simply re-fil them and carry on using them.
  11. Encourage staff to bring in lunch rather than going out and buying a pre-packaged sandwich. This will again seriously reduce the amount of cardboard you waste.
  12. Use one pen at a time. This will make your pen last longer, pens dry up quicker when they are used and left to stand. If you make sure you only use one at a time it will last significantly longer.
  13. Pre-cycle your supplies. Choose your supplies based upon the ease of recycling the packaging it comes in. This means when you finish it you know it is easy to recycle and won’t go in the trash.
  14. Use electronic formats and apps for note taking rather than a pad and pen. When in meetings consider taking notes on your tablet, PC or smartphone for example.
  15. Cut down on packaging waste. If you are sending out lots of parcels, consider shredding documents you no longer need and using the scraps as packaging instead of plastic or polystyrene chips.
  16. Make your staff waste aware and consider offering a prize for the staff member who reduces their bin usage the most.
  17. Remove personal bins from under staff member’s desks. This means staff will be more likely to use recycling facilities provided rather than simply go for the closest, quickest and most convenient option.
  18. Run a recycling awareness day. Teach your employees what recycling efforts you are making and how they can help. Explain to them why it is a positive benefit to the business.
  19. Buy tea and coffee supplies for the week ahead, not the day. Don’t get a small container of milk or individual sachets of sugar when you could use larger containers and make it last longer.
  20. Recycle organic waste. It’s genuinely surprising how much office waste can be composted. Things like tea bags, coffee grounds and food waste can all be composted instead of thrown in the general waste.
  21. Avoid colour printing. Wherever possible print documents in black and white as it uses a lot less ink.
  22. Store staff manuals and policies online, this way they are easily accessible and you don’t waste lots of paper when printing them.
  23. Consider staff schedules, if you can allow employees to work from home on set days, you will reduce the amount of waste generated as well as lowering your carbon footprint.
  24. Reuse old equipment. Items like floppy disks can be repurposed to create a funky pen holder.
  25. Ensure you recycle any old items of electronics. Almost all computer items can be recycled.
  26. Spend more when buying new equipment. If you invest well in office equipment, you will need to replace it less often.
  27. Use fluorescent or LED bulbs. Not only do these need to be replaced less often but they also use less energy.
  28. Use automatic switches in offices. This means you won’t waste electricity and bulbs will be used less, which means they won’t need replacing as often.
  29. Provide filtered water. Instead of bottles or a water cooler, have a standard water filter in your fridge or installed on the tap.
  30. Use Enviro Waste to collect your commercial waste in London and recycle it on your behalf. Take a look at our London-based office furniture clearance service.

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