Using as many of these tips as possible will cut down on costs your workplace has related to trash disposal, help your employees get in touch with their waste stream and even provide some resources for the community:
- Keep one–and only one–trash can in shared office space, but give everyone a recycling bin at their desks for paper, aluminum, plastic.
- Shred paper that has been used on both sides and use it as packing material for shipments – or offer the shreddings to the gardeners in the office to use as compostable material.
- Organize office staff on a rotating schedule to take the trash to the main collection area or dumpster instead of having it magically disappear each night thanks to the cleaning crew.
- Keep a container (with a lid) in the office kitchen/coffee area to collect used coffee grounds. Find the gardener in the office group who would love to take those spent grounds to use on their roses or tomato plants.
- Eliminate Styrofoam cups for hot beverages. Give employees quality reusable mugs (with your company logo, of course) and have the same available for guests to use. Also, provide a scrub brush and dish soap at the sink for cleaning mugs.
- Buy cartons of cream and bags of sugar/sweetener for beverages instead of offering individual-sized packets.
- Ditch the bottled water in the vending machines and provide employees with a cooler with filtered water. Another reason to use those wonderful corporate mugs you gave out!
- If unnecessary printing of documents or emails is a concern, program your print command to trigger an additional popup that asks the person printing to consider the cost in trees and to the company before going ahead with the print. Vary these messages, make them humorous and add some little graphics for greater effectiveness.
- Switch to refillable, recyclable, non-toxic whiteboard markers—such as AusPen—and pay less than you would for traditional ones. AusPens are available through EcoSmartWorld and other vendors.
- Provide each employee with an individual dry erase board for notes and reminders, to help reduce the overuse of sticky notes in their office space.
- Have printers and copiers set to black ink only, draft quality and duplex mode by default since these options should be sufficient for most internally used documents.
- For paper that is only printed on one side, designate an area for it to be collected and reused for scrap paper (before being shredded or recycled). Ask your local commercial printer if they will take your one-sided printed paper, cut it and make it into notepads for office use.
- Cancel or unsubscribe from mailed publications that your staff are not taking the time to read.
- Designate a cupboard or other organized area to swap used office supplies such as binder and paper clips, file folders (provide blank adhesive labels so they can be repurposed), manila envelopes (can be relabeled too), and rubber bands.
- Wooden pallets should never be land-filled. Recycling contractors will often agree to collect them and then will resell them to shipping companies. If that is not possible, tree-trimming companies may take them to shred for mulch. There are even some entrepreneurial types who have realized the value of decorating and making furniture with them.
- Don’t ditch used office equipment or furniture. Find a resale store in the area (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, or Habitat for Humanity ReUse store) that will accept the items—they may even come and pick them up for free.