A Zero Waste Office – Five Simple Steps

Filed in Blog by on March 4, 2020 0 Comments
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simple steps for a zero waste officeI’ve been restructuring my business and, as I work from home, there are no excuses not to run a Zero Waste office! So I’ve been thinking about some of the things I already do, and some things I could include – because there’s always room for improvement, right?

Five ways to run a successful Zero Waste office

Get off mailing lists

One of the biggest challenges with running a business is all the unsolicited mail and catalogues you get. Every man and his dog wants to sell you something. But more often than not you can opt for an online mailing list and you can, of course, browse their items via their website.

You have a few options if you’re being sent catalogues and mail outs you don’t need or want:

  • Return to Sender – pop the offending material back in the post with ‘return to sender’ written on it. The company then has to pay the return postage fee, which should deter them from sending out more in the future.
  • Contact the sender – if return to sender doesn’t get the desired response, then contact them directly and request that they remove your details. Now that GDPR is here, companies are required by law to honour your request.
  • Mail Preference Service – sign up to the Mail Preference Service every couple of years. While it’s not foolproof, it’s certainly reduced our junk mail by over 80%.
  • Door to door opt out – Sign up to door to door opt out if you’re receiving unaddressed mail – this is usually leaflets and flyers. To do this, send a request to [email protected]
  • Put a notice on your letterbox – Stick a notice on your letter box saying no to flyers, commercial leaflets or free newspapers.
  • Register with Your Choice – send an email to [email protected] requesting that your name is taken off lists to receive marketing junk mail.

Go Paperless

Gone are the days when you need everything in hard copy or numerous filing cabinets full of papers. You can store most things in the cloud and just keep hard copies for the important or legal papers.

By refusing paper invoices and statements you can offer get cheaper utility bills too and rewards with some banks.

Set up your printers

There are three ways you can reduce waste when printing:

  • Set printers to duplex, so you use both sides of the paper
  • Set printers to draft, to use less ink
  • Only print what is absolutely necessary – I admit this is my downfall and an area I can do much better with!

Recycle your cartridges

They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure and that is definitely true when it comes to printer cartridges. Many companies accept them back for refilling and refurbishing. This is a brilliant way to close the loop, keep valuable materials out of landfill and reduce the use of virgin materials. Cartridge Save tell us that only 15% of cartridges are currently recycled or reused, which is a huge waste! They accept any type of cartridge and reassuringly, all components, including plastic and metal, are kept out of landfill.

Source second hand

Talking of refurbishing, where do you buy your furniture and electronics from? All our smartphones have been second hand and most furniture has been salvaged or made from old materials. For example, my desk at Zero Waste Towers is a repurposed kitchen worksurface from my previous house. And my husband’s chair was sourced from Freecycle!

You can scour second hand shops, charity shops, auction houses and even online market places such as eBay or Facebook for fantastic items for your office. And remember to recycle what you no longer need to – old computers can be donated to charity and furniture can be sold on auction sites.

What about you? What do you do to run a Zero Waste office?

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.

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