How You Can Reduce Waste in the Workplace

Countless households have taken a pledge to live more sustainably and reduce the waste that they produce. However, it can be much more difficult to encourage this lifestyle in a business setting. As such, you may need to provide motivation for your employees to get involved in effective recycling and waste-management practices.

The following are some ways you can reduce waste in your workplace:

Take charge of your bins.

trash canYou won’t be able to minimize waste in your office unless you make an investment in the right bins and use them properly. When choosing new recycling bins for your workplace, you should opt for ones that are color coded to signify what materials they hold. Make sure to label each bin clearly.

Size should also play a role in your choice of waste bins. You don’t want a receptacle that is so large that it will take weeks to fill. However, it shouldn’t be so small that you’ll need to empty it several times a day.

Once you acquire the right bins for your needs, you should make sure to place them where they will have the most visibility. For the most effective waste-management system, you should include a single set of trash and recycling bins in a centralized location. Remove any trash bins near desks, this way your employees won’t be tempted to simply throw all their recyclables away because it’s more convenient.

Minimize your paper use.

Though the majority of offices have digitized their processes, many still use some paper on a daily basis. One of the best ways in which you can reduce your paper use is to ensure that your team does as much as possible online. For times when you absolutely must print out a hard copy, you should make sure to use both sides of each sheet of paper. When you are finished with your printed materials, you should consider shredding them and using them to pack shipments. You should also make it effortless to recycle paper by locating a designated paper bin next to each printer.

Educate your staff members.

business meetingYour waste-reduction efforts will be for naught if you do not properly educate your employees. One way to raise their awareness of the issue is to hang up posters that show how much waste your office produces on a daily or yearly basis. You could also run a workshop that teaches them about the environmental effects of waste.

It is equally important to instruct your employees on the correct way to recycle. Whether via e-newsletters or e-mails, or in staff meetings, you should tell them how to decide whether something is trash or recyclable, and in which bins they should put each type of item. You should also inform your janitorial staff about your waste-management efforts to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Scale down on e-waste.

Electronic waste is another material that often ends up in landfills. Therefore, you need to take steps to minimize this kind of waste when you buy office equipment. Whenever possible, you should invest in used copy and fax machines rather than purchasing them new. This will cut down on the waste that is produced during the manufacturing process, and it will prevent these particular items from ending up in landfills. Similarly, you should always make an effort to either recycle or donate your own e-waste. Many cities have recycling programs that specifically focus on collecting old computers and printers.

Reduce your packing waste.

shipping boxIf your office regularly packs and receives shipments, then you are likely creating unnecessary waste. One way to avoid this is to always pack as much as you can fit into each box, thus reducing the number of cardboard boxes that you use.

Another excellent way to conserve boxes is to reuse them whenever possible. However, you won’t always be able to reuse shipping materials. In cases like these, you should always opt to compost your boxes. Even if your office does not have its own composting resources, you can always bring these items to local composting centers or farmers, who will recycle them for use in fertilizer.

Get everyone involved.

You will need to get your employees excited about reducing waste if you want your efforts to be successful. To spread office-wide awareness of your sustainable efforts, you should distribute reusable cups and water bottles for your staff to use.

Another effective way to get everyone involved in recycling and waste management is to make it fun. Try making recycling into a competition among your employees. Designate a handful of teams across the office and challenge each one to collect the most bottles, recycle the most materials, or make the best structure out of recycled goods. Other fun recycling activities include hosting a bin decorating competition and playing games using your office’s recycling bins