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Easy ways to reduce waste in a work environment

business office furniture
Photo Credit: peshkov

If you are trying to reduce the amount of waste you produce, great! You are doing a good thing. However, a home environment is different from the office, and it’s important to try and reduce waste from both. Look for inspiration on how to reduce waste in an office.

Keeping the Office Clean

Before trying to cut down on waste, you must learn how to keep the office clean for a healthy work environment. Desks are a great start, as things tend to build upon them as the day goes by. When you have finished your work, do a quick cleanup of your desk – throw away any unneeded papers and trash, and keep your paperwork in check.

However, while you can clean your messy desk yourself, the carpet or flooring should be a group effort. The issue comes when not everyone in your office wants to participate. Carpets can contain all sorts of dirt, germs, and bacteria, so for deep cleaning, you might want to hire professionals instead of tackling it yourself. This way, you are ensuring that the work environment is as healthy as can be.

Watch how you eat! While eating at your desk might be convenient, it can get messy pretty fast. Make a habit of eating at the break room/lunchroom. On the same note, do not leave dishes in the sink; wash them as soon as you are done with using them.

Realize that you can’t clean everything. Maintaining a clean office should be a group effort, so talk to your coworkers and plan a weekly cleaning schedule which includes everyone.

Reducing Waste

Now that you have a clean office, it’s time for step 2: reducing waste. As an individual, you can definitely contribute to a low-waste office. Here’s how:

Use less paper. We live in an era of technology, so why not make the best of it? With programs that allow you to search, file and have easy access to all of your documents, printing them can sometimes be unnecessary.

Invest in your kitchen. This means to buy and use actual silverware and utensils instead of disposable, plastic ones. Not only will this reduce waste, but it is also cheaper in the long term. On the same note, your employees and colleagues will definitely be happier with the real stuff.

Recycle paper! While avoiding unnecessary printing is important, sometimes documents just need to exist in paper form. Don’t feel guilty about this, just make sure to recycle your paper waste properly. For example, you can put a recycling bin around the office, so it’s convenient for everyone to toss the paper in there. Research on the best recycling opportunities in your area and your paper waste should be slim to none.

Filter your water instead of making everyone use a water cooler or bottled water. Both of those options result in a ton of plastic waste. Alternatively, you can invest in reusable water bottles for the office. While it might seem a bit pricey, remember: it is for the greater good and will cost you less money in the long run.

Buy organic tea and coffee from a trusted company. You can also grind the coffee beans yourself, for an even better alternative. This way, you are reducing your environmental impact.

Reducing waste in an office is great, but what about before and after work? Encourage your employees and colleagues to use a different mode of transportation when coming to work. There are a number of ways to do this – for example, you can suggest carpooling. Similarly, talk to people who live nearby and convince them to walk or bike to work if possible. Another idea is videoconferencing – instead of attending meetings physically, arrange video conferences whenever possible.

Buy equipment that is of high quality for the office. Again, it might seem like a big investment, but it will save money, as the equipment will last much longer than its low-quality counterpart. Computers, chairs, desks, etc. will be more comfortable for use and last for years if maintained properly.

Keep an eye on electricity. Small changes can make a huge difference. For example, set the office thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter/higher in the summer. Switch to LED lights, that last much longer and therefore need to be replaced less frequently. Also, make sure to turn lights off when the room in question is not in use.

Similarly, unplug all machines that are not in use. Computers, printers, vending machines, etc. waste a lot of energy when they stay plugged in.

And finally, make the office a great space for work by planting flowers and small trees throughout the office! They will provide the entire office with clean air, and they look divine – ideal for a productive, healthy, and friendly office environment.