Controlling and monitoring waste production in our homes can be easy because we decide what comes in and goes out. Other environments can be harder to reduce waste in because you do not control them, like the workplace. Here are some tips to help you reduce waste in the ways that you can control in your workplace.
- Go Paperless
Almost everything has an electronic version these days. We pay our bills online, send mail online, use electronic money, and read newspapers and magazines on our electronic devices. Even retailers have started providing the option to email your receipt to you instead of printing it out. You can easily cut down on the amount of paper waste produced at work by choosing paperless versions of information whenever possible. Use email to send electronic versions of reports or projects; send a text to a coworker rather than leaving a note; bookmark a important page or download documents onto your computer rather than printing them out.
Going paperless also eliminates the supplies that go along with paper documents. Pens, pencils, highlighters, staplers, hole punchers, paper clips; these are all materials that we would not need to purchase and repurchase in a paperless environment.
Going paperless does not only benefit the environment; copy paper is bulky and expensive. Using less will save money and free up more storage space in the office. Electronic files are also easier to access and less likely to get lost than paper files.
- Print Smarter
Ok so you have encountered a situation where a physical copy of a document is the only option you have. Sometimes that happens. Until the entire world goes paperless some people still expect paper copies of certain things. But when you have to print, print smarter.
Proofread before you print to avoid wasting paper when you realize you misspelled your boss’ name in that document you just made 25 copies of. Use both sides of the paper when printing documents with multiple pages and reuse paper that has already been printed on one side for internal and temporary documents.
- Refill Ink and Toner Cartridges
Ink and toner cartridges have a devastating impact on the environment. It takes a gallon of fossil oil to produce just one ink cartridge and because they are made of plastic and metal they do not decompose; another reason to aim for a paperless workplace. But when printing has to occur, refill your ink and toner cartridges rather than throwing them out. Because of the high cost of ink and toner, this is a practice where the economic benefits can match the environmental benefits.
- Use Air Dryers
While at home you may be careful about use reusable towels for everything, work environments often do not have these. If your company’s bathroom offers air hand driers, always opt to use those over paper towels to dry your hands. If air hand driers are not available, use the smallest amount of paper necessary.
- Bring Reusable Supplies From Home
Instead of going to the office coffee maker, drinking from a Styrofoam cup, then throwing it away, bring a reusable thermos or mug to work with you for your coffee and tea. You can also easily pack trash-free lunches by using reusable bags, silverware, napkins, containers, and water bottles.