Zero Waste Office Tips

reduce reuse recycle

Pure Planet Recycling is in a unique position in working towards a zero waste office. Due to our operations, we are able to reuse and recycle the waste our customers dispose of to our advantage. We make use of paper left in printers, cardboard boxes and reuse toners from old printers. Our desks are recycled from office clearances and the computers/servers that run the business came from collections. We try to be as paperless as possible and make use of email for most of our communications.

We are extremely thrifty when it comes to highlighting waste and looking for a reduce/reuse/recycle idea. Have a look at what your office or business produces as waste then you can trace back the source of the waste and see if you can apply the three R’s rule to any of the waste. We have created the following tips to help towards your office becoming a zero waste office (or as near as possible)

Reduce

  • Unsubscribe from mail outs and regular junk mail.
  • Email invoices/quotes/remittance etc. Encourage your suppliers to do the same.
  • Email memos and internal mailings instead of printing.
  • Get a good document scanner and email existing paper documents instead of mailing.
  • Buy reusable cups and cutlery for staff.
  • Don’t buy address labels, print straight onto envelopes.
  • Set printers to print double sided and in black and white as default. Some printers will have a draft option that uses less ink/toner.
  • Consider one larger shared printer as opposed to many desktop printers. Staff having to walk to collect printouts give theirs eyes a rest from the screen and stretches their legs.
  • Encourage staff to use washable containers for their lunch, removing the need for food wraps such as silver foil.
  • Install hand dryers to save on paper towel use.
  • Provide water filters instead of bottled water.
  • Buy liquid products such as cleaning solution in concentrate format.

Reuse

  • Keep old boxes and packaging from purchases for shipping goods out.
  • Offer any leftover meeting room food or drink to staff.
  • Use scrap printer paper for draft printouts or meeting notes.
  • Use reusable envelopes for internal mail.
  • Keep bubble wrap envelopes for reuse, they have many uses left in them.
  • Offer staff waste pallets for furniture projects at home. Online tutorials offer guides on building all types of furniture from old pallets.
  • Keep paper clips from mailings for reuse.
  • Make use of promotional pens and stationery you may receive.

Recycle

  • Separate out materials in your waste that can be recycled, eg. paper, cardboard, cans etc.
  • Research companies that can provide food waste collections in your area.
  • Provide containers to segregate recycling from general waste and educate staff in what goes where.
  • Log the type and amount of waste in a spreadsheet to look for improvements throughout the years.
  • Check the validity of recycling companies; ask what they do with your waste? Make sure recycling companies are licensed and legitimate.
  • If your office is small, consider combining your recycling efforts with a neighbour to minimise waste and costs.
  • Ensure batteries, bulbs and electrical equipment is recycled properly and not places in general waste containers.
  • Recycle waste toner cartridges, phones etc. so they can be used again.
  • Consider a composting solution for your business.

Other ways to help the office in reducing its waste is to appoint a waste champion to oversee and monitor efforts. Ask colleagues whether they would like to get involved in helping reduce waste and the potential cost savings there may be. We ask our staff for suggestions on waste reduction on business processes. If implemented, you may even look at rewarding staff in some way. Our advice is to keep records and figures on costs, amount of waste etc. to highlight progress and this helps to motivate others to get involved.

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