Having to work in an office means the usual — getting up early for work, possibly skipping breakfast, battling your way through traffic. And most of us go with what’s convenient: buying takeout, driving through for coffee. But with convenience comes an inconvenient consequence. We’ve compiled some of the best ideas for reducing waste in the office from our readers and friends:
- Your coffee does not need a cup or a stirrer. Bring a mug! Let your coworkers use it if you’re not using it, just make sure they wash it afterwards. 3-in-1? Brew instead. We don’t need any more sachets.
- Also, your sugar and cream can go in jars. Buy in bulk and put them in airtight canisters instead of providing single-use sachets. Even if these are made of paper on the outside, they are still lined with plastic on the inside.
- Use one pen at a time. Pens dry up much faster once opened, so having more pens open at a time would just mean more pens to throw away faster. We would use only one pen for every color that we need, and choose refillable pens over disposable ones.
- Your computer is there for a reason. Post-it notes? There’s an app for that. Calendar? There’s an app for that! Office memos? E-mail. You can always use the electronic format, saves resources and easier on the budget since you don’t have to waste ink and paper.
- Packaging. Use a paper shredder to make instant padding for your packages. No need for bubble wrap or styrofoam, specially for less fragile items.
- Consolidated trash. Try having only one garbage corner per room instead of having a trash bin for every desk. This way, people would be less tempted to throw away whatever they can from the comfort of their own chairs. Plus everyone can use the short walk as excercise.
- Avoid color printing. Most tricolor cartridges read empty even if only one of the colors have run out. Black however, would work down to the very last drop. Protip: Print in draft mode. Pro-protip: If printing in black and white, remove the tricolor cartridge. Some printers still use the tricolor cartridge even when printing in black and white.
- Buy paper wisely. Choose paper with high recycled content, and/or are locally made. For drafts, newsprint paper is ok.
- Go stapleless. Staple-free staplers are a thing! Not only do you save on resources, you also don’t need to buy refills.
- Get there. Walk. Commute. Carpool. Use the train. The problem with this city is that it’s so damn easy to buy a car. Less cars on the street = less traffic, less pollution, and less fuel used.
- Digital meetings. A video conference not only saves time for everyone, not having to travel to attend meetings is also more convenient and saves us all gas.
- Screen savers don’t save anything. Change your settings so that the screen shuts down after 5 minutes of idle time. Screens still use energy even when idle or with a dark screen, it’s better off turned off.
- Use fluorescent or LED light bulbs. They use less energy, and also need to be replaced less often.
- Invest in a water dispenser. We all need eight glasses of water a day, so instead of having to buy eight bottles for each person in the office, have your administrator know that a dispenser is an absolute need in the office.
- Also, invest in a microwave and fridge. Instead of having to buy takeout for lunch, encourage your staff to bring packed lunch to keep in the fridge and reheat/cook with the microwave oven. Wake up early to pack a meal, or plan your meals ahead on a Sunday, freezing what needs to be frozen in separate takeaway containers.
Do you have any other effective (and ingenious) ideas on how to reduce waste in the office? Leave a comment below and we’ll read into them.