From decreasing air quality to the increasing global warming risk, it’s time for us humans to clean up our act. We all know that we need to keep our dwellings clean. After all, it is where we spend most of our time. Several resources talk about reducing waste at home, but what about our workplace?
Just like residential properties, offices also require attention. The workplace contributes a huge percentage of pollution in the environment. It is where computers, copiers, air conditioners, and lights continuously run, which has a negative impact on the planet.
So, how do you reduce your office’s effect on the environment? Here is a step-by-step guide to managing and eventually decrease office waste:
- Start a Thorough Assessment Process.
How much waste does your office generate each day, week, and month? What are the regular items found in the bin? Conduct an audit and determine where all the waste goes. By getting a clear picture of how the business deals with the rubbish, you can pinpoint the problem areas. Perhaps you require stricter rules in waste generation. Or, your office may need a more sustainable approach, such as recycling and reusing certain items.
- Set Your Targets
With the gathered data about office waste, it’s time to develop an action plan with easy to achieve objectives. Don’t aim to eliminate waste. It’s not only impossible but will also put so much stress on the employees.
Instead, focus on targets, such as:
- Reducing annual office waste by 50%
- Recycling all used paper products
- Decreasing reliance on copiers and choosing soft or digital copies
- Lowering waste volume by 800 to 1000 litres every month
You can also make the objectives interesting by challenging the staff to have lunches without producing any rubbish on a specific day. Whatever target you set, it’s crucial that it is achievable and will not hinder the productivity of the employees.
- List Easy-to-Implement Ways to Reduce Office Waste.
Many businesses would have wonderful plans to help them decrease office generated waste. Unfortunately, most of them lag and stop executing those measures altogether. That’s because several of the waste reduction methods are difficult to do and uphold. The following are ideas that will help you reduce office waste. The results may not be apparent right away, but the slow and steady progress makes it easier to sustain these methods:
- Go (nearly) paperless.
It may not be plausible for your office to go completely paperless – and that’s okay. But reducing the use of paper every day can have the most significant impact on office waste reduction. Today, there are lots of applications where people can write, edit, and even collaborate with their co-workers. There is no need to print documents when you have Google Docs, Dropbox, and the like.
If the staff has to print some documents, encourage everyone to double-check the content. That way, there is no need for reprinting, which can take a lot of resources. Consider having a “Think before you print” sign on the printing machine to serve as a friendly reminder to those in the office.
- Print on both sides of the paper.
Whenever possible, employees should use both sides to cut paper and ink consumption in half. You can set the computer to automatically print this way.
- Have a recycle bin ready.
Most people find recycling such a hassle, or they simply forget and quickly dispose of the waste. It’s easier to encourage people to start recycling paper when the bins are within arm’s reach. Employees are typically busy throughout the day. When preoccupied, they do not want to look for the bin to keep the recyclables. Reduce the effort required by having a recycle bin near their desks.
- Use real utensils.
No one wants to wash dishes, and that is why many people use paper plates. Unfortunately, they are wasteful, along with Styrofoam cups and plastic forks and spoons. Instead of letting the employees use these one-time use items, you should provide real silverware and plates for everyone.
Numerous office cafes in Australia now avoid using paper plates and other flimsy utensils. They are expensive and can also be a pain to dispose of at the end of the day.
- Provide good quality coffee
Most of the staff probably head out and come back with a coffee cup in hand to keep them alert. But while coffee does help with productivity, it also contributes to the considerable volume of waste your office produces. If you notice that coffee cups are a big issue in your office waste reduction efforts in the assessment stage, it’s easy to fix. The key is in the office coffee. Provide decent coffee to keep the employees motivated and reduce the need for purchasing takeaway cups.
- Have a concrete plan for your electronic waste.
Australia, especially Western Australia, actually has a significant problem with e-waste. Many businesses and even homeowners do not know what they should do with their old or unwanted electronics. Cell phones, printers, cables, and computers can become obsolete and require a replacement. All these items should be a part of your recycling program.
- Go (nearly) paperless.
- Involve Everyone.
Keep the employees informed about all the new measures in reducing office waste. If possible, you can have them go for a trial run whenever there is a modified waste reduction in place. That way, they can give you feedback and help determine potential issues. Then, you can finalise the waste reduction scheme and fully implement it in the workplace.
- Record Your Progress.
Track and compare past and present office waste volume or weight, measuring it against your waste reduction objectives. By tracking your progress, you can see how much has improved and which areas still require changes.
Recycling is essential and has been encouraged by government agencies. However, your aim should be to reduce waste first. Select products with durable materials that do not need frequent replacement. Recycle electronic waste and choose a reputable skip bin for hire to make waste disposal much easier for you and your staff.
Backyard Bins Team
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