Reducing waste in the office
It doesn’t matter how big your business is, or whether you’re a large, international corporation or a small, one-branch outfit, reducing waste is something we all can participate in.
It’s in everyone’s interests to reduce waste – not just the environment’s. Not only can it save your business money by reducing waste disposal costs, but demonstrates positive leadership, positioning your company as a force for good in your industry. If you want to reduce the amount of waste your business produces, you’re going to need to create a waste reduction strategy through looking at how your business operates and where you can minimise waste production. To give you some pointers, here are some ideas for reducing waste in the office. Call a waste reduction meeting Get everyone together and whiteboard their ideas for how to reduce waste. It’s almost guaranteed that most people will be able to bring something to the table, especially if you offer incentives for the most original ideas.
Create a waste management plan
Once you’ve called everyone together and noted their ideas/suggestions, create a waste management plan to enforce in your office. Set out your priorities and carry out a waste audit to identify the areas where large quantities of waste are produced. Speak to staff involved in waste production and disposal and find ways to reduce waste production across the business as a whole.
Reduce paper use
Remember when everybody was talking about the paperless office? While this may be easier said than done, there are ways to reduce paper use. For the times when paper is unavoidable, place a paper recycling bin within easy reach of all desks. In meetings, use whiteboards or projectors, and e-mail any minutes or keep them on a central server. You can also implement a greyscale on both sides of the page policy for essential printing that doesn’t include sales or marketing documents. Not only will this save paper, it will cut down on ink and printer queues.
Use recycled paper
As well as reducing paper use, you should use recycled paper in the office. This is the greenest option, as it uses less energy to produce and reduces the amount of waste to landfill.
Ask your staff to put any unwanted newspapers or magazines in a box and shred them next time you need extra packaging. Similarly, reuse packaging that comes on the courier. It will save you money, and you’ll be reducing waste.
Look after printers and photocopiers
Regularly servicing printers and photocopiers will keep them running efficiently, while allowing you to monitor any waste they produce. Another trick is to label them with instructions showing the correct method of paper placement. If you’ve ever printed over the wrong area on headed paper (and who hasn’t) you’ll know how handy this tip is.
Turn your electrical equipment off
There’s no reason to have computers on stand-by overnight and on weekends. Make it company policy that all computers, electrical equipment, and lights are turned off at the end of the day. Electricity is expensive enough as it is.
Install automatic taps
Bathrooms and kitchens get a lot of use throughout the working day, and it’s easy to leave a tap running accidentally. Automatic taps turn themselves off, avoiding water wastage and higher water bills. Better still, they pay for themselves.
Buy reusable office supplies
Everybody knows a person who uses 400 pens at once. You may even be that person. Reduce your pen use and keep track of your pens. Paper clips and notice board pins can always be reused too. Keep brightly coloured office supplies to encourage people to think twice before they throw them out.
Bring a packed lunch
If you think back on all those shop lunches you’ve bought while at work, you’ll soon realise how much waste their packaging generates. Not only that, but those shop sandwiches could have probably funded a flight to the Maldives. Taking a few minutes to pack a lunchbox will cut down on waste. Bringing a reusable drink bottle from home will help too. There are many actions you can take to reduce waste. Start by implementing the ideas listed above and find ways to get everyone involved. Make it fun – fun for you and fun for the environment. If you keep things light-hearted and fun, your employees will be more likely to stick to your waste management plan.