Most of us are anxious about the vast quantities of stuff being dropped in landfills and the current controversy concerning state recycling ambitions. No wonder waste is a burning issue right now. 

Everyone is wondering what they could do to minimize garbage, particularly in workplaces, where workers can accumulate substantial quantities of junk without any genuine necessity. It isn’t easy to reduce your ecological footprint while away from your home’s comforts. 

And in a formal, disciplined atmosphere like the workplace, cutting wastage and lowering your carbon footprint can seem complicated. Year after year, England produces over 189 million tons of trash, and it is predicted that better resource efficiency could save UK firms up to £6.4 billion each year. 

According to the environmental advocacy group INFORM, the US processed over 65 million tons of municipal solid garbage in 2010. Corporations account for nearly a third of all waste.

One can save enough resources by reducing or repurposing. As public knowledge of environmental concerns rises, more buyers opt to “purchase green” and support businesses doing their part to help the ecosystem.

Firms may refuse to invest time, resources, or labor in workspace waste minimization if they perceive it as burdensome and inconsequential since it does not generate revenue. While eliminating trash may not produce profits in the conventional sense, it will save your company money in the long run.

If you want to simplify your company’s production and reduce waste for financial or environmental factors, you don’t have to sacrifice your employees’ productivity. Below you will find ten creative ideas to minimize workplace trash without sacrificing overall productivity or team cohesion.

Table of Contents

1. A waste audit is your way to go!

10 innovative ways to minimize office waste
Image Credit – Pexels

The first approach in developing an effective waste management strategy for any company is recognizing and analyzing the types and quantities of trash generated by each department. 

Prepare a schematic map of your workspace and adjacent premises to determine major sections (such as parking spaces, workstations, break rooms, personal offices, conference halls, and so on) and start figuring out what kinds of trash are accumulated. A thorough trash audit will reveal the regions of your office where a substantial amount of waste production occurs.

2. Begin with tiny shifts in operational habits

Your office’s regular operations serve as a perfect launching pad for waste minimization and management solutions. Adjusting our small, everyday behaviors is the first step toward reducing waste. Following are some brilliant ideas to start your waste innovation in your office.

  • Ensure the office printer is configured to produce on both sides of the paper.
  • Letters and e-mails should only be printed if strictly essential. As a reminder to others, write “Consider waste production before printing” or a related paper-use-minimization statement to the foot of e-mail autographs.
  • Evaluate dissemination databases, manage and update datasets every month to prevent overproduction of promotion and advertising materials.
  • Gather all one-sided printed paper and repurpose it for reprinting or using it as a rough sheet. 
  • When feasible, repurpose envelopes, particularly when mailing information within the company.
  • Throwaway catering items such as milk bottles, sugar sachets, and disposable plates should be avoided.
  • Install huge, appealing recycling receptacles with branding to encourage your theme in high-engagement locations to promote your recycling ambitions.
  • In the restroom, stay away from paper goods other than toilet rolls.
  • In lighting systems, employ LED bulbs (this implies fewer substitutes and reduced waste, as LED bulbs last at least ten times longer)
  • Replace disposable items with reusables whenever practical, including kitchens and refreshment stands.

3. Go paperless

A paperless office
A paperless office | Image Credit – Felix Wong

Visionaries prophesied the extinction of corporate paperwork in the early world of computers and extolled the joys of working without paper. But meanwhile, many companies have increased their paper usage by utilizing the plethora of data accessible via modern internet systems. 

To get on track with the minimalistic paperless paradigm, provide colleagues with flash drives and urge them to keep files digitally. Rather than filing cabinets, keep your crucial paperwork on off-site storage disks. Distribute messages to staff and inspire them to do the same. Go that extra mile and give the person whose printer cartridge lasts longer a gift. Because, why not?

4. Precycle Office Supplies

Precycle Office Supplies
Precycle Office Supplies | Image Credit – Pixabay

Precycling is the practice of minimizing non-recyclable garbage before it becomes a problem. The word usually involves selecting items bundled in readily recyclable matters, but it can also refer to your office equipment. To block trash in its stride, select reusable or recyclable materials. 

When deciding which resources to use, think about it this way: Can I reuse or recycle the product? A minor shift in mentality could result in fewer trash bins throughout the year. Don’t know where to begin? 

To save time and money, use bits of paper rather than staples and crushed newsprint instead of plastic wrap to preserve objects for transportation. To reduce plastic applicator wastage at your workplace, purchase a reusable metal tape applicator and keep things like binders and media packages for as long as possible before tossing them away.

Suggest replacing the single-use ballpoint pens with a refillable pen. It takes getting used to the process if you are simply throwing your pen away after it runs dry, but it is a terrific method to cut down on plastic pollution. You might even realize that a fountain pen is your preferred method of writing.

5. Increase the lifespan of your supplies

Increase the lifespan of your supplies
Increase the lifespan of your supplies | Image Credit – Jessica Lewis

Throughout a hectic job, accidentally grabbing a dried-out ballpoint can drive you crazy, right? However, it is also probable that you will end up ditching your goods too soon. Is it possible to extend the life of office equipment? Certainly!

If you’re not using your writing tools on a consistent schedule, the pigment in your pens, highlighters, and pointers will dry up faster. So, just use a single pen or a marker at one time to make the best of them. Also, make an effort to keep your pen tips fresh and covered. 

Inks agglomerate at the top of your pen over a few months, making it more challenging to scribble. Cleanse the point of the pens with a napkin after each use to save plastic pollution and aggravation. Make sure to store pens with tips facing upward to eliminate clogs.

Additionally, store all markers, pens, and adhesive sticks in a cold, dry location, such as a filing cabinet or cupboard. Paints and adhesives can dry out and solidify when exposed to extreme heat and natural sun.

6. Avoid single-use cups and plates

A big no to single-use cups and plates
A big no to single-use cups and plates | Image Credit – Freepik

Whether it is soda cans or cartons, the odds of them being emptied and placed in the workplace recycling container are small. Half-filled bottles are frequently tossed in the garbage, wasting the beverage and the receptacle. 

An excellent approach is to use customized cups or bottles. Put the money into authentic plates and cutlery for the office cafeteria rather than wasting money on useless plastic plates, hazardous cups, and weak plastic cutlery. 

Over time, you will save money on the expense of acquiring and discarding these products, and using basic utensils is far more pleasant. Hold everybody accountable toward their plates, and if you can afford it, invest in a dishwasher to make things more convenient.

Make absolutely sure that coffee machines accept reusable mugs instead of throwaway cups, and suggest building or advertising drinking water fountains in restrooms and living spaces.

7. Reduce the amount of packaging waste

Packaging waste
Packaging waste | Image Credit – Blue Bird

Having products delivered at your arm’s reach is a common occurrence in our everyday activities, and it is also necessary for the smooth functioning of an office. Decrease the number of shipments needed by using green transporters, choosing green time slots, and ordering in abundance. 

Keep the packing if possible. Store the bubble wrap for future reference instead of tossing it away and needing to purchase more packaging material when you wish to ship a gift to a friend. 

8. Use digital files and electronic invoices.

Make the transition to digital bills and bank transactions. By employing applications on your smartphone or computer, you can settle your expenses and make payments to customers. Not only will you conserve paper and ink, but you will also save cash and effort.

9. Train Employees on Proper Procedures

Classifying waste based on the types
Classifying waste based on the types | Image Credit – Pawel Czerwinski

And obviously, neither of the above-listed actions will be effective unless your entire staff is on your side. If you are starting a recycling facility or changing your printing operations, explain everything to the team. Hence, they comprehend what is anticipated of them and the reasons. 

One should also concentrate on making these procedures simple so that their job cycle isn’t disrupted and they can comprehend what you are attempting to accomplish. Strive to make things easier for your workforce. 

Consider the types of storage bins you have in your workplace. In an idealistic situation, you would have compostable foodstuffs and particular trash receptacles for each sort of item you consume. However, you want to make sorting stuff as straightforward as possible for users.

10. Increase involvement by giving your projects a competitive edge

Encourage involvement
Encourage involvement | Image Credit – Freepik

Do you assume your workers’ recycling practices produce the desired outcomes for your company? A workplace recycling challenge can raise awareness about the issue and provide an opportunity to re-educate everybody simultaneously. Still, it can also foster a feeling of connectedness and enhance your organization’s culture. 

Empowering your staff to realize how vital issues like trash diverting are to your company can set a precedent and function as a collaborative project, drawing your workforce together to concentrate on something other than work.

To Wrap Up

Waste minimization in a company benefits the ecosystem and brings down operational costs. These significant or straightforward improvements will continue to boost your recycling rate, present a positive environmental impact, lower company costs, and eventually improve employee brand loyalty. 

It is becoming more necessary today than ever to do what is vital for your company and the planet. In the current environment, a good recycling strategy can even be utilized to recruit new eco-friendly employees who will love your recycling strategy!

(Last Updated on May 27, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!