Updated: May 4
Zero waste seems to be one of those buzz words at the moment. It's every where you look, everyone talking about reducing waste and plastic usage, but how can that be applied to the office?
There are a few simple things that can be done to reduce the waste produced in your office.
Remove the disposable plastic cups from the water fountain - who doesn't love a glass of chilled water, but it doesn't have to be in a plastic cup, instead, you could use glass ones. Alternatively, invite your colleagues and customers to bring their own water bottles with them and refill those!
Not just cups, but plates and cutlery too, keep a set in the office kitchen and encourage your colleagues to turn down the disposable items when they get lunch.
Switch to paperless filing - these days companies tend to email their invoices and statements rather than sending them in the post as it is quicker and cheaper, but why do we then print them and file them in the filing cabinet?. Instead invest in some online storage with a site such as dropbox, that is GDPR compliant, and switch to paperless filing, instead save the invoices as pdf's and file them in organised folders instead of printing them on paper. They are also then easily accessible when needed. save the trees and save space!
Reduce the amount of printing that is done - it sounds obvious, but if you are printing from an email or a document, only print the bits you need.. do you really need to print 8 pages when you only want the content from the first one? Could you save paper by printing double sided?
Use digital cards - have your business card as a digital file, ready to email, message or whatsapp to a new contact when you meet them instead of a printed version.. save the trees!
Use old envelopes for notes.. do you really need a post it note or a new piece of paper? Instead, you could reuse the envelopes that your post has come in.. and then put them in the paper recycling afterwards! The same goes for mailing stuff out. If an item arrives in a padded envelope, then carefully open it and keep the envelope for reuse later on.
Reuse files/folders. instead of using a new one each time, why not reuse the old ones where possible. This could be made easier by either writing on them in pencil so that it can be rubbed out at a later date or by using a sticky label ( not as environmentally friendly but still an option).
Install recycling bins.. instead of all the waste going into just one bin, separate it out. Maybe have a compost bin for food waste in the canteen/kitchen, a bin for recyclable items such as plastic and a bin in the office for paper recycling.. you can even take it a step further and use recyclable ink cartridges and connect with a company that donates to charity each time you return the cartridges to them.
Stamp recycling - yes its still a thing, there are some charities that benefit from you collecting your used stamps and sending them to them.. have a used jam jar in the office and when it's full, post the stamps to your chosen charity.
However you decide to reduce your waste in the office, any change is better than no change.