When you throw away garbage, it doesn’t just disappear. The waste isn’t rocketed off this planet. It is collected, somewhat processed and left in the ground to rot. Recycling is better but, there is a third way. Reduce the amount of waste you are producing. Reducing waste is actually the cheapest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. A bit of careful consideration about your office habits can go a long way. Here’s 10 ways that you can do that
1. Stop getting takeaway coffee cups Do you find yourself with a takeaway coffee in hand each morning? Just remembering your reusable cup in the morning could save hundreds of cups from going into the trash each year.
2. Don’t rely on bottled water There is nothing wrong with drinking water out of the tap in a glass. If you wish to drink pure water, get back in touch with the tap, or look at getting an office water cooler with large re-usable bottles or a built-in filter system.
3. Recycle bins everywhere Making sure there are options for easy recycling in high traffic areas, and lunch rooms so that it is top of mind, and easy for people to participate in. Putting a recycle bin next to printers is also ideal.
4. Set the printer’s default setting to print both sides Called duplex printing, making this setting default on your office printer and asking people to change it, only if they have to, will significantly reduce paper usage. I would recommend replacing any printer that can’t print on both sides of pages.
5. Save ink Did you know that ink is more expensive per litre than petrol? There are many ways you can save ink including: changing the default font, changing the quality/resolution and print using the speed (a.k.a draft) setting. When you’ve emptied an ink cartridge, get them sent away and refilled. It can save you throwing away a perfectly good product.
6. Buy long life products How many years do you think your current computer will last? What about the office coffee maker? If you bought a better quality one now, could you extend that expected life by one year, two years, or more? When you buy quality products from the get-go, you can expect them to last longer. Not only will you be saving money by having to replace expensive items less often, but you will send less to the recycling plant or the landfill.
7. Commute more efficiently Commuting can take up a large portion of the day, in a highly unproductive manner. Use the opportunity to make your commute greener. Rideshare with coworkers will save fuel, as well as give you the opportunity to get to know your co-workers outside the office. If possible, cycling to work is a great way to exercise whilst commuting.
8. Send email bills and staff pay slips When customers set up new accounts, ask them if it is alright to use email, rather than paper bills. Some will want to keep using paper statements, but many will be really impressed with your company’s paperless attitude. Digital pay slips delivered to your staff via company email can save paper and ink.
9. Reduce your customers reliance on paper Give customers your email address, or phone as a first point of contact. List your email address and phone number on your website, and business card. Deliver documents via email, and invest in digital signing technologies to reduce printing requirements.
10. Get everyone involved! Procrastination is often the hardest nut to crack. We know how to be greener, but we sometimes lack the incentive. Getting everyone in the office involved will encourage change and keep everyone accountable to the rest of the team. Setting challenges and targets is an effective way to get the office team on board. Don’t forget – small changes can make a big difference. What is it you are about to do after you finish reading this? Can you do it with less waste? Consider these options and grow your own office policies about reducing waste.