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10 Ways to Reduce Waste in the Workplace

Reducing the carbon footprint we leave behind on our planet is a goal of many businesses and individuals. One of the ways is to lower waste in the workplace so as to be part of the solution for a better world rather than the problem. There are some simple ways to make a difference at work that will save incredible resources over time.

1. Avoid single-use drink containers for guests

Whether they’re water or drink bottles or boxes, the chances that these will be finished and get into the recycling bin at the office are slim. Quite often, half-full containers end up in the trash instead, which is not only a waste of the drink but the container as well. Branded mugs or glasses are a great alternative.

2. Use water coolers

Water coolers are a great alternative to the one-use bottles. By putting in a water cooler that can offer healthy and cold spring water, a business can lower water waste. It’s also attractive and convenient, with scheduled deliveries that happen automatically.

3. Bring lunches in reusable containers

This alleviates uneaten food waste as well as takeout boxes and bags ending up in the trash. In businesses, paper and paperboard make up 40% of all garbage, which means it’s not getting recycled as it should.


These next 6 ways to reduce waste all have to do with paper. because it is the most significant waste in an office. It’s estimated that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year, most of which ends up in landfills. The U.S. EPA estimates that if the paper used in one office building that holds 7,000 workers were to be recycled instead of thrown away the impact would be the equivalent of keeping 400 cars off the road. That’s an amazing result and something to consider. These final office tips may be helpful in reaching that waste reduction goal:

4. Take paperless notes

Whether it means carrying a tablet or a laptop to a meeting, instead of writing things down on paper that often gets thrown out or converted to digital anyway, capturing notes electronically saves on waste and on time.

5. Use both sides of the paper when printing, copying, and writing

6. Reuse one-sided misprints for plain paper faxes or scratch paper

Faxes only use one side of the paper when sending information and scratch paper seems to always be needed at some point. Employees usually grab a clean piece from a copy paper package or even out of the printer or copier to use for scratch. Instead of wasting that, an already-used piece that is no longer needed would be better to use.

7. Use emails instead of paper memos

8. Encourage sharing documents via the cloud instead of printing

9. Use size reduction to get two pages copied onto each side of one standard sheet


The 10th suggestion for managing waste in an office is a reminder to use recycled products. When you’re doing that, there are no new trees being cut down and no new energy having to be expended. You are reusing something that already has been created to help cut down waste and you’re successfully promoting the cycle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Doing so gives a clear signal that your office is an eco-friendly environment.