You may have heard the saying “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” This is something that really resonates. Sometimes it can feel like our small individual changes to reduce waste don’t have much of an impact. But if you think about what the impact would be if everyone made the same small changes? Suddenly, together, we can make a huge difference.
Low waste is easiest in environments we can control, such as at home. But it gets trickier to stick to low waste in other situations, such as when you’re out and about, or at work. That being said, you don’t have to admit defeat and accept that low waste is too hard to achieve outside your home. Get the people in your workplace involved, and work together to reduce the amount of waste you collectively create and throw away. Here are just a few ways to reduce waste in the office, from being mindful of rubbish removal in the office to hiring skip bins for bigger cleaning works:
Provide dishes and silverware
Make sure your office kitchen or coffee station has proper dishes – not wasteful plastic or paper cups and spoons. The upfront cost of reusable dishes is higher than their plastic counterparts, but you will soon make this up, as it’s a one-time purchase. Make everyone responsible for washing their own dishes and silverware. If people in the office often go out to coffee shops, make sure everyone brings their own keep cup – or take a mug from the office.
Along this same line, invest in cloth tea towels and hand towels. This will reduce the need for single-use paper towels in the bathroom and kitchen. Set up a rotation for who takes the towels home to wash.
Put recycling bins next to every general waste bin to remind everybody to recycle what they can. Have a dedicated spot for soft plastics that can be recycled through the REDcycle recycling program, and a spot for cans and bottles that can be recycled through Containers for Change. The added bonus here is you will receive 10 cents from every container you drop off – which can go into the Christmas party fund or social club, an incentive to get the whole office involved.
However – discourage plastic water bottles. Have a filtered tap installed in the kitchen, or keep a water jug in the fridge, and have each member of the team use reusable drink bottles (glass or metal are best) or reusable cups from the kitchen instead of supplying bottled water.
Think before you print
While recycling is helpful, reducing paper waste is even more important. See if the team can eliminate how much paper they are using for printing. Programs like Google Docs make it super easy to make edits and collaborate from your computer, so you shouldn’t need to print out and hand around documents as often.
Send out emails with memos instead of printing them for the noticeboard. If you do need to print something, set the default to print double-sided to save on paper, and reduce unnecessarily big margins on your documents. If you currently deal in paper invoices, see if you can swap to a digital version. Limiting paper use is one of the most simple ways to reduce waste in the office – you’d be surprised how easy it is to be a paperless office!
‘Low waste’ lunch days
Encourage the team to bring their own lunch and to avoid buying pre-packaged foods. Get everyone involved in bringing their lunches in reusable lunch boxes without unnecessary single-use waste such as cling-wrap. If you need an idea for a team gift or company-branded items, consider reusable containers, lunch boxes and drink bottles. This will give you the added bonus of free advertising if one of the employees is using their drink bottle out in public!
Be mindful when making purchases for the office
When selecting companies from which to order your office supplies, have a look into their environmental ethos. If they are doing their part to reduce waste along their supply line, you can feel confident in partnering with them. Buy in bulk where possible (e.g. coffee beans, sugar, toilet paper) to avoid smaller packs with more packaging waste.
When ordering supplies, select items that come in compostable packaging where possible, or from companies that actively reduce packaging waste. When you have parcels arrive, don’t throw away the packaging – see if it can be reused.
It’s likely there’s plenty of clutter and unnecessary items in your office space. While you’re on a mission to reduce waste removal, it’s a good time to take stock of what doesn’t need to be there. Old furniture that isn’t used anymore can be donated to a charity or repurposed somewhere else in the office. Most electrical items can be recycled, so avoid just throwing them in the bin.
Partner with a local business dedicated to reducing waste to help clear out old items. When you hire a skip bin from us here at Kwik Skips for your office waste disposal, we ensure that every item that can be recycled, is recycled. Like you, we’re dedicated to reducing what ends up in landfill.
It can feel overwhelming to know how to reduce plastic waste in the office, but if you start with one thing at a time, it’s easy. Swap out the plastic cutlery for reusable silverware one week. Next, place an order for a bulk pack of toilet paper from a trusted company that offers compostable packaging. Get every person in the office involved in reducing their own waste, and ensuring they recycle what can be recycled. Have a big office clean out, and see what old furniture or electrical items can be donated or repurposed.
For your office waste disposal, we have you sorted with skip bins in Perth, promising that everything that can be recycled will be, to avoid items ending up in landfill. Together with everyone in the office, you can reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment.