Saving the planet may be the last thing on your mind when sat at your desk and staring at a mountain of tasks. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important, not to mention very easy, to reduce your waste levels at work. What’s more, by reusing and recycling company resources and materials, you and your team members will save the business heaps of money over the course of a year.
Offices go through paper like there’s no tomorrow, and whilst paper is recyclable, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to cut down the amount we use. There are so many really simple ways to achieve this, which basically involve using less paper (no surprise there).
We now have a wealth of technology at our fingertips, so instead of having physical folders filled with printed sheets, try storing everything in an electronic file. If the documents need to be accessed by your coworkers, there are plenty of online tools out there to help. Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Basecamp and many other websites and apps allow you to create digital folders that you can share with colleagues – collaborating has never been so easy!
You could also replace the old dog-eared notepad with a laptop, iPad or even your smartphone. This allows you to quickly type up any notes from meetings on a built-in notebook app without contributing anything to landfill. If you’re still a stickler for pen and paper, reduce your waste by reusing scrap sheets for rough note taking. And when you only use one side of a page in a meeting or ideas sessions, pop it aside so that you can use the other side later on.
Meanwhile, printing waste can be cut in half by changing the office printer’s settings to duplex, or double-sided. This takes slightly longer to print, but the positive impact it will have on your stationery bill and the environment makes it worth the wait.
Sometimes, when it comes to upholding brand guidelines, reusing office stationery can be completely out of the question. Nevertheless, where appropriate, offices can make more of an effort to reuse valuable resources – not only is it cost-effective, but it also reduces your rubbish immensely.
For instance, invest in some sticky labels to place across the addresses on old envelopes and jiffy bags, and remember to remove paperclips from bundles of documents before throwing them away. Reusing seemingly small items like these really does make a big difference, particularly bubble wrap and other packing materials.
You could also encourage your associates to purchase a reusable coffee mug for their morning latte – those daily Starbucks cups certainly add up in the bin over the course of a week. If they need further encouragement, some chains offer discounts to eco-conscious members of the community who bring their own cup. Cha-ching!
Breaking old habits can be hard, and implementing a comprehensive recycling initiative at your workplace can also seem difficult. Still, it’s definitely not impossible, especially when it’s a team effort and everyone lends a hand.
For starters, position your recycling bins in visible and easily accessible spaces, as convenience will do wonders in your mission to increase the amount that employees recycle. Popping a paper waste bin next to the printer for those print jobs that never get collected is also a good shout, making sure to add a label or sign explaining that it’s for paper only.
Another good idea is to remove all personal bins. This may cause a few moans and groans at first, but by having plenty of recycling bins for different materials dotted around the main room, you’ll eventually change the way that employees think about wastage. An added bonus is that they’ll probably stretch their legs more often and walk around a little, which is good for physical health and wellbeing alike.
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