10 Ways To Reduce Waste at Work

With the impact of climate change more evident than ever before, it is imperative that individuals do their part in living as environmentally conscious as possible. One of the best ways to live greener is to reduce your contribution to the growing waste problem. In addition to reducing waste at home, here are some tips for minimizing waste at work.

By George J. Newton

1. Have Breakfast And Coffee At Home

Aiming for zero waste at work starts at home. Carve out time during your morning routine to enjoy breakfast and a cup of joe at home. Grabbing breakfast on-the-go might save you time in the morning but it usually entails more waste in the form of food wrappings and disposable coffee cups. By having breakfast at home, you’re starting your day off right and green.


2. Pack Your Lunch In Reusable Containers

In the same way that breakfast on-the-go results in more trash, buying lunch instead of packing your own does as well. While this may not always be the case, especially if you eat out at a restaurant or have access to a cafeteria with real plates and cutlery, bringing your own lunch from home in a reusable container is both a more eco-conscious and economical alternative.

3. Bring A Reusable Water Bottle

Instead of grabbing a plastic bottle of water from the office fridge, bring your own water bottle and refill it at the water fountain. If you don’t have access to a water fountain, consider asking your boss for one. For people who consume more than one cup of coffee a day, bring your own tumbler or mug. A lot of coffee places like Starbucks accept personal cups and even provide a discount to encourage it.

4. Make Your Commute Eco-Friendly

Do you drive to work every single day? Perhaps, there are coworkers you can carpool with or you can discuss working remotely a few days a week with your boss. If you live relatively close to your workplace, consider walking, biking, or taking public transit to work every other day. Not only is it more beneficial for the environment, it’s a lot less stressful than driving during rush hour.

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5. Replace Single-Use Work Kitchen Items With Reusable

For those of you who have access to a work kitchen, encourage the replacement of single-use items such as paper plates, plastic cutlery, paper towels, and plastic cups with reusable alternatives. “Urge the office to invest in real plates and cutlery. Ask your coworkers to bring their favourite mugs to work. Instead of single-use coffee pods, choose more environmentally friendly options like a French press,” says Timothy Paul, a business journalist at Britstudent and Write My X.

6. Be Mindful of Paper Use

­It may be difficult at first, but it is possible to go paperless as a company in this digital age. Instead of printing out the outline for your presentation, consider emailing it instead. Encourage your coworkers to choose digital over print copy as much as possible. If you absolutely must print something, print it double-sided. Stocking your printer with recycled paper is a greener alternative to regular paper.

7. Buy Refillable Supplies

Whenever possible, choose to purchase refillable office supplies such as refillable ink cartridges or refillable jugs for the water cooler. Every tiny gesture helps, even something as small as buying mechanical pencils over regular ones.

8. Buy Supplies In Bulk

To reduce packaging waste, stay away from individually packaged supplies. Buying bulk helps reduce waste by decreasing the amount of packaging and shipping required to get the same amount of supplies to your workplace.

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9. Advocate For Recycling And Composting

A lot of people want to make the greener choice when throwing something away, but they need the option to do so. If there’s no existing recycling and composting program, advocate to start one. “Strategically place recycling bins beside every trash can so it’s visible and convenient for your coworkers. Place a compost bin in the kitchen next to the trash and recycling,” explains David Mateson, a writer at Originwritings and Australia2write.

10. Turn Electronics Off When Not In Use

Instead of leaving your desktop computer in sleep mode during your lunch break, shut it off completely. The same principle applies to printers. If you don’t share a printer with anyone else, keep it off until you need to print something. If you have a private office space, don’t forget to turn the lights off every time you leave the room. Small gestures like these all add up to a greener work environment.

About the Author

George J. Newton is a business development manager and content writer. His biggest supporter is his incredibly patient wife of over 10 years. You can find his work at Write My Literature Review, PhD Kingdom, and Coursework Help.