Waste reduction at the office consists of little changes whose cumulative effect can make a big difference. With a little thought, you can apply pollution prevention strategies to any "process" that generates waste, whether it's making a cup of coffee or writing a memo to your co-workers.
Here is a short list of pollution prevention ideas for the office, just to get you started.
- Bring in a reusable bag for your lunch; reuse plastic containers for your food items.
- Don’t buy note pads – cut up scrap paper from the recycling bin.
- For memos – make one memo with a circulation list on it. Few things are more wasteful than several employees working within a few feet of each other receiving individual copies of the same memo.
- Better than paper, use electronics! Use e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, list serves, etc. Why just reduce paper use when you can eliminate it?
- Keep a central office file instead of having employees keep individual folders. Save large envelopes for reuse when mailing – just cover the original name and address with sticky labels.
- Save your toner cartridge for recycling – all cartridges can be recycled regardless of the manufacturer. Also, consider purchasing remanufactured toner cartridges.
- Ask suppliers to package products in reused packaging such as newspaper. Better yet, ask if the product can be delivered with no packaging.
- Don’t accept junk mail, such as large catalogs. Call the sender’s toll-free ordering number to remove your name from the list. Return the material with a large "did not request – return to sender" on it; they’ll get the message.
- Photocopy on both sides of the paper – 62 percent of office waste is paper.
- Be creative! Look for a way to reuse or eliminate an item before you throw it out.