Top 6 tips for reducing office waste

Running a business is all about balancing different tasks and responsibilities, and not allowing certain elements to become neglected due to issues like poor time management or a lack of resources. This is the case whether you are running a restaurant or an office. When it comes down to it, success or failure largely depends on how logically and effectively various tasks are tackled.

Unfortunately, one area which often goes by the wayside is the importance of office waste and recycling. However, if this is a concern for your business, then the good news is that you can often make big improvements by implementing simple and inexpensive changes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our top six office waste recycling tips.

office waste1) Do an office waste audit

The first step to getting on top of matters is to actually figure out how much waste your business is generating. This naturally depends on the type of business you operate but for most offices, the biggest issue here will very likely be paper. The average office uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year and around 45% of that goes in the bin.

Conducting a waste audit can be straightforward. Simply gather all your recyclable material over the course of a set period. For example, if you did it for a day, you could simply multiply that by five to get an accurate weekly figure.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. Do consider whether some days would generate more waste than other due to increased printing or postage demands. Also make sure that everyone participating knows how important the accuracy of the audit is. Assure them that the idea behind it is not to judge but to assess in order to make sure the results are realistic. This is vital, because so much of what we do next will be based on this result.

2) Have discussions as to whether this amount can be reduced

Once you have the amount you waste in black and white, you can then discuss whether you can realistically use less materials without it impacting your business. For instance, request that employees send documents via e-mail rather than printing them. If they do need to be printed, make sure you are printing on both sides. Other simple steps can include avoiding bottled water, buying refillable ink cartridges and using hand towels instead of kitchen roll.

You and your employees are best equipped to figure out the most effective ways of reducing waste without impacting day-to-day operations. Once you have had an open and honest discussion with everyone in the company, you can then go about implementing changes.

3) Have a second office waste audit

The time between discussions and full implementation can take a little while as people get used to how things now operate. However, once you are confident that everyone has gotten the message, you can then move onto the next phase of your recycling reduction quest. That is to do a second waste audit to see how effective the changes have been.

Working out in theory how much you’ll reduce is one thing but actually doing it is quite another. This will show you what has worked and what needs improvement. It’s important to note that the war on waste in an ongoing one and that waste audits are something you should consider doing every now and then when you feel that the amount of waste you are producing is getting out of hand.

Not only will this process reduce the amount of rubbish your business is creating, but it will also save you money as you have less materials to replace. It can also be helpful with another step. However, before that, now seems like the perfect time to…

4) Have a recycling awareness day

If you have implemented your reduction regime and still find that not everyone is pulling their weight and making an effort to get those waste numbers down, then a recycling awareness day is perfect to have one last push to improve the situation. Here you can help fellow employees understand how straightforward the changes are and how big an impact they have, from the financial to the environmental.

A good idea is to offer incentives for reaching certain targets. Or, if they have already reached them, reward them as a way to keep up motivation and office morale.

5) Make sure you have the right wheelie bins and labelling for your office

This is something that should absolutely be implemented as quickly as possible because nothing can kill your recycling momentum faster than not having the right bins or labels. In any case, you should ensure that the system of bins and labels in place is perfectly tailored to your office’s needs to encourage employees to recycle with minimum effort.

The amount of options out there are vast, with the likes Wheelie Bin Solutions providing a huge selection of bins to meet the ongoing needs of your business. If you are an office which produces a large amount of waste, there’s even an option for a 1100 litre wheelie bin, meaning all demands are catered for.

6) Move to a zero-to-landfill system

Even with your best efforts, there will still be residual general office waste leftover, and that waste will end up in a landfill week after week. However, there is something you can do about this. Specialist waste providers offer the option to have your waste incinerated.

Research shows us that this has less of an impact than the traditional disposal method, both through landfill and electricity production. There’s no perfect way to get rid of waste but right now, this does seem like a better alternative for businesses looking to do everything they can to lower their environmental impact.