Three water bottles, two cups of coffee, a dozen printed emails – as you sit at your desk for eight to nine hours a day, you may not realize the amount of trash you accumulate as you work. Unfortunately, getting rid of it isn’t as easy as emptying your deleted emails, so businesses account for approximately one-third of the millions of tons of garbage produced by our nation annually. Most businesses utilize recycling programs to combat this waste, but there are also some easy ways to cut down on waste before it starts.
- Reduce the use of paper and printing products. Paper is the single biggest source of waste in most offices. Use double-sided printing, buy recycled toner and ink, and distribute materials electronically. Consider a managed print solution to optimize your printing.
- Cut energy consumption. Invest in energy-efficient light bulbs for a longer life span and lower energy use than traditional bulbs. Use energy-saving settings on all office equipment, and encourage employees to shut down their computers when they leave the office.
- Optimize your office. Even your office building can be sustainable – when designing or redesigning an office, consider utilizing as much of the existing furniture and office systems as possible, and consider recycled and environmentally friendly furniture options. Purchase cleaning products with reduced or nontoxic content in reusable containers, and utilize reusable microfiber cleaning tools rather than disposables.
- Limit small orders. Increasing your average order size requires vendors to make fewer deliveries in fewer packages, thereby reducing your carbon footprint. Frequent purchases also require more time spent for end users in the ordering, receiving and invoice reconciliation processes, a hidden cost to your company.
- Don’t dispose, reuse. By using items that can be refilled or reused, you can eliminate unnecessary waste and save money. Consider buying mechanical pencils, reusing envelopes with metal clasps, purchasing a water cooler to replace bottled water, and shipping materials in reusable or reused packaging.