Some Ideas for How You Can Reduce Waste in Your Office

  Most of us these days will appreciate the need to reduce the amount we waste. This is not only so that we live more sustainably but also so that we save money - more of us are counting the pennies these days. In most offices there is a high degree of unnecessary wastage. By taking steps to eliminate some of this waste we can save a lot of money over the course of a year.

Tips for Reducing Waste in Your Office

Here are a few ideas for how you can reduce waste in your office:

If you have drink vending machines or water fountains you will want to make sure that these can accommodate glasses and mugs. That way your team members will able to use their own utensils rather than relying on disposable plastic cups. This will save you a lot of money over time. It also means that you avoid creating a lot of plastic that needs to be disposed of.

Paper and ink are probably the resources that get wasted the most in offices. If you look in most bins in these places you will likely see that they are crammed full of paper. This is because whatever was printed was not usable or not actually needed. It is important that you teach your team how to use the printer more sensibly. This includes fully checking documents for errors before printing them off. They should also only print when they have a reason to do so. If you notice that one of your employees has a bin full of paper beside their desk you will want a good explanation for what has happened.

Another huge cause of waste in your office will probably be electricity. There will usually be plenty of devices in your office that are not being used but still sucking up electricity. It only takes a few seconds to turn these off and it is not like there is any real benefit to having them on. If you are serious about not wasting electricity in your office you should notice a significant drop in the amount you need to spend on electricity.

During winter it is a waste to heat rooms that are not in use. Make sure that the heat is turned off in any empty offices or seminar rooms.

Times are hard at the moment so it is vitally important that you save as much money as possible across the board.

Reducing Waste - 3 Steps Restaurants Are Taking to Reduce Waste

I have helped hundreds of restaurants over the past few years move toward zero waste -- a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused or recycled.

Businesses pushing toward zero waste focus on reducing waste as much as possible and then diverting any remaining waste toward recycling and composting environments. To accomplish this, I've seen these businesses incorporate 3 major tactics:

1) Eliminating Non Recyclable or Compostable Waste - I've seen a variety restaurants and cafes effectively eliminate waste that can not be composted or recycled. For outbound supplies (ones used by customers), many have moved over to compostable food packaging for their cutlery, to go containers, cups, bowls, etc. Inbound supplies can be a bit more difficult to control (e.g., it's more difficult to force your vendor not to cover your produce with plastic wrap), but still in many cases restaurants have been able to ask vendors to stop using packaging which is difficult to recycled such as Styrofoam.

2) Eliminating their Trash Cans - I've seen quite a few sustainably minded business owners eliminate or dramatically reduce the size of their trash can. This seems to be a very powerful tactic so long as you've already implemented #1 and reduced most of your packaging to compostables & recyclables. By eliminating your trash can, you force customers to think before they discard their waste, and when combined with proper recycling & composting signage, this can be very effective for getting customers to self-sort their waste.

3) Employee Education - I've found that businesses that are the best at moving toward zero waste actively educate and train their employees on recycling, composting, use of re-usables, etc. Training is key for answering customer questions (e.g., which bin does this fork go in?) and for the sorting of waste left at tables or in the kitchen. Further, having employees that are excited about a businesses move toward zero waste will go a long way in embedding that sentiment into the businesses culture and the minds of it's customers.

3 Practical Ways for Landscapers to Reduce Waste

Green business is a hot-ticket commodity in many parts of the country. Virtually every industry has a market segment of green specialists offering services marketed towards consumers who prioritize the environment and sustainable alternatives. Many business owners find that their customers are willing to pay more for a highly quality product or service that is more sustainable and less destructive to the environment locally and globally.

For this reason, many landscapers and design-build firms market themselves as environmentally conscience or even "green" in their techniques and material choices. After all, the companies that make our environments beautiful should aim to keep them that way. However, their dedication to green practices may not extend beyond their choice of native plants. Landscapers, golf courses maintenance crews, and other routine maintenance providers ought to work towards developing more sustainable procedures in their day-to-day work. Here are three practical ways that lawn and tree care companies can improve their practices and reduce waste.

1. Use recycled materials for landscaping

The EPA advises that landscapers and home owners recycle waste from their landscaping projects, including green waste (suggesting mulching some byproducts), lumber, brick, concrete, and asphalt. Obviously, the more materials which we can salvaged for reuse in other projects, the better for the customer's budget and for the environment. This may require the innovative use of old, weathered materials in new, thoughtful ways by other customers.

2. Compost green waste

Composting is a great small-scale solution for individual home owners, some of whom may choose to hire a lawn and tree care company which offers composting services. Composting can also be done in large-scale facilities or landfills, but may have some drawbacks, such as smell which affects the surrounding community. Often times, websites run by your state or local government provide more information about how to set up effective compost piles in either home-made or industrial compost bins. Landscapers can help educate their clients about the benefits of home composting and assist with the set up of systems that will radically reduce their waste output.

3. Recycle lawn grass clippings

While the EPA's suggestions target landscaping projects instead of the byproducts of routine maintenance, lawn and tree care companies as well as golf course maintenance crews dispose of a significant amount of lawn clipping grass into non-composting landfills. In fact, the amount of lawn clippings produced in 6 months in the United States could feed all of our cattle for a year.

Time will tell how effective green landscapers are in protecting and enhancing the local environments that they serve. If all landscapers practiced these guidelines, our waste would be radically reduced and our affected ecosystems better supported.


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