From accidentally leaving a light on to tossing an aluminum can in a non-recyclable garbage can, waste is a part of everyday life. Many times it’s unintentional, but it happens all the time. And it’s probably happening in your office.
It’s estimated that the average Minnesota office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, and the U.S. as a whole uses 3.7 million tons of copy paper each year. What’s the big deal? Paper products are incredibly easy to recycle, yet the EPA estimates that 40 percent of our garbage is made up of paper and paperboard, according to Reduce.org. So, nearly half of our garbage ends up at the dump.
Leone’s Building Services is dedicated to providing the best professional cleaning services to its clients, and as a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) certified company we are also committed to doing our part to protecting the environment. With that said, here are a few easy ways to reduce the amount of waste your office creates:
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology offers a multitude of opportunities to become more efficient and cost effective, and less wasteful. Recycling old electronics, setting your printer to make double-sided copies, using e-billing programs and saving documents on a jump drive rather than printing are all ways to reduce the amount of resources you use. Just imagine how much money and time your company could save by going paperless!
Use Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
A big topic under this category is getting that paper use under control. Always use both sides of a sheet, keep a paper recycling bin nearby, and reuse file folder or envelopes whenever possible. Other ideas include using paper clips instead of staples, using a rubber address stamp rather than labels for mail, or ordering your supplies from local, green vendors.
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? But even small changes in lighting, workspace use, and heating and cooling can make a significant difference. Obviously turning lights, computers and other electronics off when they aren’t in use are the first things to do. But in addition, consider switching to Energy Star fixtures, create an new thermostat setting for nights and weekends, and consider offering telecommuting options.
Thinking Outside the Garbage Box
Is your office hosting a potluck party? Well, rather than using disposable plates, silverware and napkins, have a stash of reusable dinnerware and do some dishes when it’s all over. And if you have any food leftover from that party, store it in reusable containers to share and if there is anything untouched, donate it to a local food shelf or kitchen. Bottom line? Stay open to new ideas on how to reduce waste.
At the end of the day finding ways to reuse, recycle or conserve are pretty easy. You just need to be conscious of the fact that you, and even the small attempts you make, will make a difference.