Most of us really want to recycle and reduce waste. It’s when recycling gets confusing or inconvenient that we fail to follow through. That goes double for the office. Work is busy. We’ve found that making recycling as easy and efficient as possible really goes a long way in reducing office waste.
Here are 5 ways to help your office reduce waste that are quick, simple, and sustainable (in every sense of the word).
Let’s be real, most people won’t leave the room to dispose of something at the office, so make it easy and top-of-mind with a recycling bin in every room. It’s such a simple change but makes a huge difference. It’s also a great way to show employees and clients that recycling is important to your company.
Coffee mugs, cups, dishes, and silverware are a must. A fun way to incentivize even the most ambivalent of coworkers is to provide personalized water bottles and/or coffee cups, maybe with their name or a funny quote relevant to their line of work. Bonus: it’ll keep everyone from mixing up whose is whose.
It’s not always easy to keep track of what to recycle, so make it as easy as possible by leaving signs in strategic spots, especially in the kitchen where there’s a lot of sorting going on—preferably with visuals. You can also leave gentle reminders to avoid waste, such as “please turn off the light” by the bathroom light switch. To avoid sounding like the office nag, try adding a bit of humor, like leaving, “This could have been an email,” by the printer.
Whenever possible, go digital and lead by example. A PowerPoint presentation doesn’t require follow-along handouts; you can send the presentation digitally before or after with the same effect. If you regularly have meetings that require spreadsheets, providing tablets not only saves paper but your sanity (who wants to print those out anyway?). You can even put in your email signature, “Please help me go green by not printing this email unless necessary.”
When the supply closet is an eclectic mix of random stragglers, those supplies often end up unused. Make a designated space for those supplies, arranging them as well as you can to make them as visible and appealing as possible, and hang a sign that says, “Please check here first!” That way, instead of always heading towards the new delivery of supplies, employees know to check what needs to be used up first. If you can’t seem to get rid of the older supplies, encourage employees to take them home or give them away.
When in doubt, you can always host an office challenge for a little extra boost of motivation. We hope this helps get you spread the spirit of eco-responsibility in the workplace!