5 Ways to Reduce Waste at Work

Although many people are going to great lengths to conserve energy and recycle their trash at home, the same people are not always as “green-conscious” in the workplace. Businesses are one of the biggest sources of trash, and energy waste. It can be difficult to follow conservation practices at work when things are already hectic and there is little time left over for taking care of the planet. Yet it is more important than ever to maintain our “green” methods wherever we are; at work, at home, on vacation, or simply a night out with the family. This article discusses five ways to reduce the amount of trash you create the office. Once you finish reading the article, pass on the ideas stated within to your boss and coworkers.

Use, Then Reuse, Paper

When copying and printing, use both sides of the paper. Remember: Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle. Once the document on one side of the sheet is read and has no further use, stack it in a box for reuse in the printer or copier. In a small office, one box near the printer and or copier may be enough but for larger companies each person may need a tray to store used paper ready for reuse. Not only will using both sides of the paper reduce the amount of waste the office produces, it will also save the company money.

Envelopes and folders can be reused as scrap paper. Instead of expensive and wasteful post-its and memo pads, jot down notes on used envelopes and file folders. Although this may seem more disorganized and cluttered, think of all the good it does for the environment. Less trees used for paper, less paper waste, less energy used to recycle barely used paper. Isn’t it worth a little more inconvenience?

Set Up A Central Memo Location

By setting up a bulletin board area for office notices, you will eliminate the need to send an individual copy of each memo to every person in the office. The Memo Location should be set up in a place, like the employee lounge, where everyone is likely to go during the day. Dry Erase boards can also be useful if your company is not too large, but there is always the risk that a message gets erased or smudged before it can be read. Take some time to compare alternative methods for getting messages to everyone rather than using large amounts of paper for memos. Chances are there is a way that is not only energy saving but time and money saving as well.

Take Advantage Of New Technology

Using email is another more energy-efficient way to communicate with coworkers over sending memos. Companies could save thousands of dollars and hundreds of trees each year by using email instead of paper for correspondence. Also, read the email online before decided if it needs to be printed out. Avoid simply auto printing correspondence and use cut and paste with a word processing program (or Google Docs) to only print out the necessary information from the email.

Another good way to use technology to conserve paper is to use a fax-modem, which allows faxes to be sent directly to a computer without printing out a paper copy. If you do send faxes through a regular fax machine, only send a cover page if it is absolutely necessary.

Use Office Products Made From Recycled Materials

Use recycled paper and other office supplies that are made from recycled materials. Staples, Office Max and other large office supply companies sell such items but you can also search online for a wider variety.

On the other end of the recycling process, you should set up bins around the office and in the employee lounge for paper, plastic and metal items. Setting up a recycling program may take a little work but the benefits far aweigh the inconvenience.

Avoid Using Disposable Products Whenever Possible

Disposable products add to the ever-growing landfill problem in this country and are often completely unnecessary. Disposable paper cups can be replaced with ceramic mugs. Certain printer cartridges can be refilled. Packing materials can be used and reused over again. Small companies that use the regular coffee machines can purchase reusable filters instead of the disposable paper ones.

Look around the place where you work. I’m sure you will find small changes that can add up to big differences to the environment.

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