Every year, tonnes of waste is sent to landfills, with a large number of companies, both big and small, being guilty of generating a significant amount of it.
As the world continues to wake up to the damaging global effects of human consumption, many businesses are beginning to introduce new workplace initiatives to help tackle office waste.
Here, we discuss eight simple ways to effectively reduce the amount of waste produced within the office, whilst positively improving our environmental impact.
8 Ways to Reduce Office Waste
1. Switch to a professional coffee machine
While coffee pod machines are a popular choice in working environments, as they offer quick brewing times with minimal difficulty, they do, in fact, produce a lot of plastic waste.
As such, it is much more environmentally-friendly to invest in a professional coffee machine for your office. A bean-to-cup coffee machine can grind coffee on-demand and produce quick, fresh and excellent coffee into a reusable cup or mug. If workers prefer artesian coffee, encourage them to buy a reusable coffee cup with a sturdy lid, to reduce the number of disposable cups ending up in landfills.
Moreover, a bean-to-cup machine will not produce any plastic waste if you purchase coffee beans packaged in paper pouches – you can recycle the material after emptying the coffee beans.
2. Use Fairtrade coffee beans
Fairtrade is a certification scheme that’s designed to help farmers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. This scheme ensures farmers are earning enough to have a stable income to support their families, as well as protecting the environment. In turn, farmers are encouraged to invest back into better farming methods like organic production, the minimal use of agrochemicals, and managing erosion problems and waste properly.
Thus, purchasing coffee beans that are part of the Fairtrade movement can help farmers in the developing world trade on fairer terms and become more sustainable.
3. Start composting
As a way of enhancing soil quality and reducing soil erosion, you can collect organic waste and compost it into soil fertilisers.
Waste products that have been made into fertilisers are a great solution for helping plants receive nutrients for growth. This waste management plan can divert more waste from a landfill and can help your business to reach zero waste, which is excellent for your Corporate Social Responsibility practices.
Collecting coffee grounds, tea bags, leftover food, paper towels, compostable plates and cutlery, can dramatically decrease the amount of waste that will end up in a landfill.
4. Recycling boxes
You should clearly label all the recycling boxes in your office and introduce company practices that actively encourage employees to recycle.
It is also advisable to remove employee’s individual bins under their desks so that they have to make the effort to properly recycle their waste.
5. Recycle electronic equipment
Enforcing electronic waste collection should be an important part of your office recycling programs. As technology has evolved, there’s an accumulation of outdated, unwanted electronic items that need to be replaced. Electronic items such as computers, cell phones, printers, cables, batteries, ink cartridges and CDs can all be recycled.
6. Go paperless
If you haven’t done so already, you should go paperless and switch to using digitalised files, invoices and online banking. Going digital enables you to conveniently manage your payments and data with ease, thus saving you a lot of time. Moreover, electronic files can save you money on postage, so whilst being better for the environment and reducing your workplace’s carbon footprint, it’s also more time and cost-efficient for the business.
7. Litter-less lunches
Your organisation can adopt a litter-less lunch to decrease the amount of daily waste that’s generated from the office.
Providing basic cooking facilities in the office, such as a single hob or a microwave, makes employees more inclined to bring in their own lunch. You can also go one step further by encouraging employees to bring their lunch in a reusable lunch bag or container, instead of paper or plastic bags, which are generally tossed away after a single usage.
As a result, employees can reduce their plastic waste and save themselves money if they bring in their own lunch. They will not need to buy takeaway food, which is usually packaged in plastic or unrecyclable materials, from outside the office.
8. Ban bottled water
As billions of water bottles end up in landfill every year, it’s sensible to follow in the footsteps of many other UK businesses and ban plastic water bottles within the workplace.
Instead, install water dispensers throughout your office in order to promote “greener” habits. This will encourage employees to bring in a reusable water bottle and refill as and when they need to, as opposed to purchasing expensive, unsustainable bottled water.