Top 7 office recycling tips that will obliterate your waste

Did you know a typical office of 100 people produces on average 20 bags of waste a week? This fills one 1,100L waste bin a week, equivalent to filling fifty 1,100L waste bins a year! Over 90% of this office waste can be recycled, but the idea of recycling is often overlooked by many people.

Recycling is relatively easy to deal with, and shouldn’t be too difficult to introduce to your office!

Here are 7 top tips for reducing your waste and implementing an effective recycling system that will obliterate your waste and put you on the path to sending nothing to landfill.

  1. Focus on paper consumption

It’s hardly surprising to hear that most office waste consists of paper. We all use it and we are all most likely guilty of wasting more than we should. The first action you can take to reduce paper is to set up your printer to print double sided, as this simple action can halve paper consumption.

The second step is to ask yourself if what you are printing really needs to be printed, because most of the time we print things that can simply be written down by hand on an already used bit of paper.

  1. Reduce or reuse

Paper reduction strategies offer a great opportunity to reduce waste, but there are other pieces of office equipment that we use on a daily basis that can be reduced, reused or recycled, rather than thrown away.

Items such as stationery, toners, cardboard, furniture and IT equipment can all be explored in terms of consumption, and then you can prepare a recycling strategy to dispose or reuse them in an environmentally friendly manner.

  1. Gradually expand your recycling system

Once you have exhausted your options for reduction and reuse, it is then time to explore a recycling system that will be easily followed by you and your colleagues.

The best recycling systems start small and build on sound foundations over time to become exemplary. As the saying goes – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

It is always advisable to start with paper and card recycling as it is usually the most visible and highest volume waste product in the office.

Over time try to expand the recycling system to other waste materials such as glass, plastics, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, toners, CDs, food waste, furniture, IT equipment etc.).

  1. Invest in good bins and labelling

We all know that offices use a lot of recyclable materials, but not all offices have designated places to recycle, especially if you work in a small office. As you introduce a new recycling option, make sure that the option is well communicated to staff and that the recycling facility is highly visible.

Using different coloured bins and separating them across the room for each recycling option is key as it makes sure that waste streams do not get mixed up and can be recycled with ease.

It is also useful to include a picture of what can be disposed in the bin along with a short and punchy label which provides practical guidelines for employees.

  1. Remove personal bins

This may be a difficult task, as many office workers have grown fond of having a bin sitting next to them. Saying that, if you have a strong recycling system in place, it is imperative that you remove as many general waste units as possible and increase the ratio of recycling bins around the office.

If you highlight the benefits of this new system and explain how easy and accessible it is, you should be able to overcome all obstacles with your colleagues.

  1. Run a recycling awareness day

If you find that not many colleagues are on board with the new recycling system, an awareness day might engage and educate them of the benefits. You can run a few sessions providing engaging graphics and information that will hopefully flip their knowledge on recycling, thus leading them to begin taking part in the new system. Focus on the financial and environmental costs associated with waste production and highlight the potential savings if everyone was on board.

  1. Move to a zero-to-landfill system

Even with a comprehensive recycling system, you will still have residual general waste which gets sent to landfill every week.

To eliminate this waste, you could look at the option of sending it to be incinerated. There are several specialist waste providers who offer this service.

Research shows that the impacts from incineration are outweighed by the benefits in terms of electricity production and reduced landfill impacts.

A zero-to-landfill office provides a very powerful and compelling environmental commitment which the business can use to engage customers (win/retain business) and inspire staff (attain and retain talent).


By Laura at 28 Jul 2017, 12:02 PM