15 hacks to reduce office waste for #ZeroWasteWeek

Zero Waste Week is now in its fifth year and is set to be bigger than ever! The event, running from 7th-13th September 2015, is designed to make people more conscious about the waste they produce and think about ways they can reduce it.

The hope is that we can move to a ‘zero waste economy’, in which we fully value the resources we use, and reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. It’s a challenge, and will require huge change in the way we work, but the idea is garnering support from businesses across the country, all signing the pledge to reduce the amount of waste they produce.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 15 ways your business can reduce, reuse or recycle waste in preparation for the upcoming event.

  1. Offices all over the country can find themselves buried under a mountain of used, shredded and scrap paper. Instead of buying expensive bubble wrap to protect your parcels, use this waste paper to help protect the contents of your package.
  2.  To reduce the amount of printer ink your office gets through, change your print settings to print in draft mode. This will generally lighten the shade of your print but it will still be perfectly readable and you will use much less ink.
  3.  If you are planning a re-vamp of your office or are replacing old furniture, then instead of throwing your old stuff away, offer it for sale to employees or donate it to charity. There are many charity groups and centres that would greatly appreciate extra chairs and tables in good condition.
  4.  Encourage your employees against using disposable cups by providing them with a refillable water bottle. This can even be branded with your company logo to help give your business extra exposure when your employees use their water bottles elsewhere; win win!
  5.  Staples usually end up littering the bottom of desk drawers or once used, simply thrown away. So say goodbye to staples and hello to the staple-less stapler. These handy gadgets work by punching a hole through documents and folding the paper back on itself to effectively attach multiple pieces of paper together.
  6.  Fold letters so they fit inside smaller envelopes. This not only saves wasting more expensive, larger envelopes, but also reduces your postage costs.
  7.  Reach out to your local libraries, hospitals, nursing homes or schools to see if they are interested in your old trade journals, magazines, leaflets and brochures, instead of just throwing them away.
  8.  Set up an area in your office for your employees to leave or exchange used items such as binders, envelopes and files to reduce the amount of equipment thrown away bwhen it could be re-used.
  9.  Pens and other writing equipment can be notoriously difficult to recycle. Biros, highlighters and correction fluid containers often don’t fit into standard recycling categories. However, there are recycling companies who will collect these items in bulk from your office and take them to be recycled into new products.
  10. Swap the paper towels in your washrooms for air dryers to reduce paper usage.
  11. Go digital! Move all of your new starter handbooks, policies and procedures into an online portal for your employees to read at their leisure. It will save a load of space in the office, and significantly reduce the amount of printing you have to do.
  12. If you have a gardener who looks after your landscaped areas, encourage them to grasscycle, compost and mulch to significantly reduce green waste.
  13. Collect paper that has been used on one side and turn into scrap paper that is easily available in all areas of the office and in meeting rooms.
  14. Try to avoid using post-its. They can’t be recycled because of the glue, so they are a essentially a one-use product. If you can’t live without the ubiquitous sticky note then write your memos in pencil so you can then rub them out and reuse or use an electronic version.
  15.  Make it easy! There’s no doubt about it, to become a zero waste economy we need everyone on board. So get a designer to make some funny, eye-catching posters that encourage environmentally friendly behaviour.

You can get the ball rolling during #ZeroWasteWeek with an office-wide competition to see which department can come up with the most innovative and effective waste reducing idea. The best idea wins a team prize, and of course you can share all your ideas on Twitter using the hashtag #ZeroWasteWeek.

Businesses such as MAR Services are committed to helping businesses across the country be as eco-friendly as possible. We make it our mission to help reduce waste and increase recycling. Providing facilities management to schools, leisure, hospitals, manufacturing and corporate facilities, MAR Services offer a range of services including cleaning, security, ground and building maintenance and specialise in waste and recycling services. Our aim is to help your business become a much more eco-friendly company and help reduce waste nationally.

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