Offices in the UK contribute close to 24% of all the waste the UK produces. Of the 335 million tonnes of waste produced each year, only about 17.7% is recycled. Rest of it find their way to the landfills where they either decompose or stay put till the end of days.
Of this waste, close to 80.6 million tonnes of waste comes from printing stationery that’s thrown out, each year, by offices. Paper waste is one of the easiest to recycle and reuse. However, the optimum scenario would be to reduce overall waste whether you are an office in Bromley, Beckenham, Bexley, Eltham, Greenwich, Lewisham, Croydon, or Chislehurst.
Offices everywhere can do the needful by being more mindful about their paper and plastic usage and office clearances. How office workers use stationery and disposables go a long way in minimising wastage over the long term.
Here are some tips on how you can minimise office waste:
1. Use both sides of the paper
While printing and photocopying, make sure you print on both sides of the paper. In this way, you use the paper 100% and reduce 50% wastage. This is one the easiest tips to get started on minimising stationery wastage, too.
2. Label bins
Buy good quality bins and put labels on them that differentiate which kind of waste goes where. For example, you can have five bins with the following labels:
This method will help office clearance, manifold, by reducing the time and efforts spent in waste clearance and recycling.
Reusing is one of the easiest ways of reducing wastage. Next time you receive a parcel or letter, carefully unwrap it, and instead of throwing the cover away, use it to send out mail or store documents.
4. Reduce paper towel usage
Tea towels that can be washed and reused are a great alternative to paper towels. You need not keep a stock of paper and kitchen towel rolls lined up for use all the time and can do away with that expense completely by having hand towels and tea-towels in the bathroom. Getting them washed every time might seem like an effort, but it does reduce your carbon footprint, and it does reduce your expenses, to some extent.
5. Avoid print outs
With options like screen sharing to share information with others that you have on your computer, emails, and digital signatures for verification, you can avoid taking print outs to a large extent. If you do use print outs, avoid colour printing, as they use up a lot more ink than black and white prints do.
6. Use scrap paper
Instead of investing in the expensive post-it notes, use some scrap paper to scribble notes on to. Post-its’ are anyways not meant for long-term record-keeping, and what is aesthetically pleasing might not always be environment friendly.
7. Bring your own mug
Encourage employees to bring their mugs to the office. They need to do this just once and let the mug sit at their desk. This is one of the most environmentally friendly changes you can bring about in your office. Paper cups and disposables mark a large chunk of the waste that sits in landfills and doesn’t decompose easily.
8. Invest in refillable ink cartridges
Instead of buying new cartridges for your printer every time, buy ones that you can easily refill with new ink. This way, you won’t be throwing away ink cartridges every time and thereby reducing plastic waste substantially. Also, refillable ink costs only a fraction of what cartridges cost.
9. Download note-taking apps
There are several phone and desktop apps that you can use to take notes instead of your usual pen and paper arrangement. We understand that taking notes on paper is easier and an idea that you are more comfortable with, but not only do phone apps reduce paper usage and subsequent wastage, but it also reduces the number of notebooks, scraps of paper and documents you need to organise and keep track of.
10. Reuse your paper shreds
If you need to send out parcels, then you can use paper shreds to protect the package instead of the usual polystyrene chips. This is both eco-friendly and a good way of reusing paper waste while ensuring information security.
11. Reward waste reduction at work
Conduct frequent awareness workshops and list down ways in which employees can cut down wastage. Recognise their efforts and reward employees who follow the steps and consciously help reduce waste at work. This will motivate others, too, to follow their suit.
12. Buy and store groceries
Instead of using single sugar sachets in your office kitchen or small cartons of milk, try and store them in glass containers that employees can help themselves to. The same applies to tea and coffee. Instead of buying them in small sachets, buy a big packet at a go and store it in a large container instead.
13. Consider work from home schedules
Allowing your employees to work from home for a couple of days in the week can largely reduce the wastage generated at work, improve your office space efficiency and finally, reduce your office’s overall carbon footprint.
14. Recycle e-Waste
Be mindful of how you dispose of your electronic waste. They should not land up in the same bin as food and plastic. When disposed of in the right manner, almost all computer items can be recycled.
15. Use LED bulbs
Use energy-friendly LED bulbs as they consume lesser energy and bring down your utility bill amount. These bulbs may seem expensive, but they last longer and are way more energy efficient than the usual bulbs, thereby saving you precious pounds in the long run.
There are many ways of reducing your office’s carbon footprint. As with all great initiatives, this too starts with raising awareness and coaching your staff and employees on ways of handling waste efficiently. If you begin with even a couple of tips mentioned in this list, you will for sure be reducing your office waste substantially. It is also important to remove the waste created responsibly. To do that, get in touch with a professional office clearance company.
Let’s work together towards building a greener planet with better-focused office clearance efforts.