Five ways to make your office zero waste

Filed in Blog by on June 23, 2015 7 Comments
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zero waste officeThroughout my working life I’ve worked in varying sized companies.

I ran the office for a bakery and a restaurant in a golf club where it was just me, myself and I.

I’ve worked for the Bank of England with it’s thousands of employees.

I’ve worked for a large supermarket chain and now I work for myself, building websites.

Whatever size organisation you head up or work for, there are simple ways to improve your bottom line, boost staff morale and enhance your CSR by putting a zero waste policy in place.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Create an ‘eco’ committee

There will always be committed people who care about the environment.

Whether it’s for religious reasons, a dislike of waste or concerns about future resources I bet you’ll find a team of people who can’t wait to share their ideas.

Form a team of people who will meet monthly to discuss ideas, implement plans and support the rest of the staff to get on board.

Take an audit

You don’t know what you’re dealing with until you take an audit.

Evaluate everything your company is throwing away. And yes, this might mean pulling on a pair of rubber gloves and rummaging through bins!

Once you know what you’re currently throwing away, you can pick one waste stream to divert from landfill.

Reduce paper waste

One of the simplest waste streams for offices to deal with is paper.

By changing printers to print on both sides you can save a considerable amount of money on paper supplies.

For confidential documents, source an ethical and accredited company such as Datashredders to help. Their specialists will shred your confidential waste onsite and they recycle 99% of their shredding (including cassettes, computer discs and credit cards), providing a viable recycling option for many businesses.

Office furniture

Freecycle was birthed when the founder saw office furniture being thrown into a skip. His thought was “Surely someone else could use that.”

And one man’s trash really can become another’s treasure.

Organisations such as Green Furniture Aid take unwanted office furniture and rehouse within the charitable and voluntary sectors.

IT Equipment

When I worked at the bank I’d see countless monitors, printers and other equipment trashed every month.

Computer Aid International refurbishes IT equipment including desktops, laptops and network equipment for use in different programmes across the world. Projects are run in education, health, agriculture, gender equality, governance and post-crisis relief.

Refurbishing computers is 20 times more energy efficient than recycling. By donating your old IT equipment, you could make a difference in people’s lives as well as on the environment.

What about you – how have you made your workplace zero waste?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Phlippa Bond says:

    It is good to share. Share a bin!
    (And don’t put any yucky food waste in there – make sure food waste goes in the kitchen. Enlightened offices may even have a green johanna!)

    • Mrs Green says:

      Ah yes, good idea. When I worked at the bank, every single person had their own bin which was emptied at the end of the day. Maybe one bin per section, along with a selection of recycling bins is the way to go 😉

  2. Philippa says:

    Definitely. But you wouldn’t believe how protective some people are of their personal waste bins. Cartoonable! Now so many people work on the computer it is also a good idea (more than a good idea healthwise) to get up, take your eyes off the screen and walk around occasionally!

  3. GreenerDaddy says:

    For sure !
    You can add : use a reusable coffee cup in coffe machine 😉 I do it using my personalized cup.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Fantastic tip, thanks for sharing! I remember getting through loads of the disposable plastic cups in my banking days :O

  4. Danielle says:

    This is definitely my current mission–but hard to do in a global company! Still, I can try 😉

    • Mrs Green says:

      Good for you Danielle; I’d love to hear how you get on in a global company as I appreciate it’s much more challenging trying to change things than in a smaller one. Be the change my friend!

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