To stay zero waste at work can be challenging. Fortunately, it can be achieved through small actionable steps and commitment. Here are five ways on how to stay zero waste at work, no matter what industry you are in.
1. Do a waste audit.
The first step to help you in your goal of practicing zero waste at work is to conduct a waste audit. It will help identify what really needs to be reduced. Create an organized list of items and quantities per type that are being disposed at work.
This may include paper of various types like receipts, documents, and old memos. Other items may be empty pens, empty cartridge inks, plastic cups, plastic utensils, food, wrappers or packaging, and even hygiene products. It can even include bigger items such as appliances, equipment, and furniture.
After doing an audit, it will be easier to take appropriate measures and put policies in place in achieving your zero waste goal.
2. Go paperless.
Do you really need to print that out? Maybe not. One of the best ideas for practicing zero waste at work is to go paperless. It can be difficult to completely eliminate paper, so start by asking yourself, “What do I need this for?”
Perhaps, you can send an email instead of printing it out on paper. This way, you not only cut supplies costs, but you also get to save time. If you really, really need to use paper, consider doing two-sided printing and setting narrow margins.
Additionally, consider using cloud storage for files. It’s also easier to retrieve files that way anywhere you go. You get to save cabinet space, too!
3. Maintain your equipment.
Machines or equipment tend to use up more energy when there is inadequate ventilation. To lower power consumption, consider locating office equipment in well-ventilated spots.
This helps machines run efficiently and avoid overheating. Additionally, keep them well-maintained with regular cleaning and proper storage when not in use.
When the time comes that you need to invest in new machines, consider products that are energy-efficient. These usually have power management and sleep mode features when not in use. These are very handy especially when people tend to forget to shut off machines.
4. Reuse and recycle.
Another way of practicing zero waste is by reusing office supplies. For instance, that piece of paper with a clean back page can be used for notes or memos. For used envelopes, give them a new purpose by putting on a new label. To further minimize waste, use refillable ink cartridges for your printers.
Next, consider repairing and reusing what furniture you already have in your office. Instead of buying new ones, breathe new life into your office couch by repairing or repainting. Get creative by giving these items a makeover. And sometimes, all you might need is a good deep cleaning to make furniture look new.
When it’s time to let these items go, make sure to do so properly or recycle. Consider also donating to charity or selling as secondhand.
Now, when you need to replenish supplies in your office, get the products without the packaging, especially when you buy in bulk. Alternatively, you can give the containers or packaging back to the suppliers when they deliver. They usually have a proper recycling system or disposal management in place.
5. Use eco-friendly alternatives.
Understandably, it is so much easier to grab breakfast or lunch on the go, especially when you are in a hurry. While it’s more convenient to do so, it actually results in a lot of packaging waste such as food bags and boxes, plastic straws, napkins, and single-use utensils.
These packaging wastes go to our landfills and can take ages to degrade. A huge volume also ends up in nature, such as in soil and in oceans. To go zero waste, pack your own food or have your takeaway food in eco-friendly lunchbox sets that come with reusable utensils and straws.
Skip the single-use coffee cup and water bottle by having your own reusable mugs. There are shops that offer discounts when you bring your own reusable food containers, water bottles, and lunch bags or eco bags.
Next, one of the frequently used items in the office is toilet paper or paper towels. Instead of grabbing a paper towel to clean your hands with, avoid waste by washing your hands instead with soap and water, and then dry with a hand dryer.
Another way of staying zero waste is by looking for eco-friendly alternatives to personal and hygiene items that you use at work. For instance, use an eco-friendly notebook that is made of recycled paper or a green pen that is made from recycled plastic bottles.
When you need to clean-up your face or touch-up your make-up, use LastRound facial pads. It is made of 100% natural materials that is good for 1750 uses.