Office Waste

How To Manage Business And Office Waste Efficiently

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Green living is more than just a trend or fad that’ll die. It’s a way of life that’s here to stay and it should be practiced by households and businesses alike. The burden to be more efficient with waste is even greater for businesses, given the volume of waste and trash that this sector also contributes to the landfill. Creating a sustainable company culture is also about observing and protecting the business’s corporate social responsibility to the local area it belongs to. It’s a big change to make but the benefits are undeniably priceless.  

You may be reading this as you could be guilty of perhaps still being inefficient and unsustainable with your waste management practices. Don’t be, as there’s always room to learn more and improve in your practices. Or perhaps you’ve lost your momentum in your business, where you now feel you’ve run out of ideas to be more efficient and sustainable.  

You can start to better manage your business and office waste more efficiently with the tips discussed below.  

Recycle All Electronic Equipment

If there’s any business or office waste that’s hardest to handle, it’s definitely going to be old electronic equipment. If you don’t know what to do with it, it’s easy to just discard it immediately in the landfills. The truth is you can still give it a new life and extend its use by sending it to the proper recycling authorities.

There are businesses, one of the many being GK Industrial Refuse Systems, which have compactors, for instance, to crush that old electronic equipment and compact waste for businesses. Rather than leave it in landfills, those crushed, old electronic equipment can be given new life by further sending it to companies which buy recycled or scrap metal.

Encourage Employees To Pack Their Own Lunch  

One of the biggest contributors of single-use plastic in offices are actually employees who love to grab take-out meals for their convenience. Unfortunately, it’s very wasteful. You may notice your office’s non-biodegradable bins piling up so much, even mid-day during the working day.  

So, if you haven’t already, why not encourage your employees to pack their own lunch. You can do this by providing incentives for those who do so. Or, at least encourage everyone in your company to bring their own reusable and washable utensils. If you have a company canteen, you can provide discounts for those who use their own utensils. 

This kind of company culture may seem like a big adjustment for everyone in your business, but it’ll also bring in so many benefits beyond environmentalism, in the long run. Your employees will eventually notice the difference in the savings they enjoy when they no longer have to spend for take-out lunches all because they’ve brought their own meals. This practice will turn out to be healthier as well. 

Most importantly, be sure to lead by example. Every single member of the office, or at least the majority will follow suit when they see their manager, superiors, or company president also bringing their own lunch or reusable utensils to work. 

Avoid Using The Printer, Whenever Possible 

Another culprit to business or office waste is paper. In the past, paper products were always an inevitable part of any business. It seems like there are always so many documents that needed to be printed, distributed, or copied. Today, this situation may not necessarily be the case anymore. 

Technology is on your side and now, so many businesses are turning to digital documents. If there’s no need to have physical or hard copies of certain mail or documents, then don’t print it anymore. Make it a company practice to avoid the printer, whenever possible. Rather, make use of cloud storage and online file sharing apps or software, so that files can still be easily shared across the office without necessarily printing them. 

If you do have to print documents and it doesn’t necessarily have to be colored, print it in black and white. Don’t feel compelled to always use brand new paper. If you can recycle and make use of both sides of the paper before throwing it away, then it’s ultimately going to be a much better practice. 

Start Composting 

Many businesses have also now started the practice of segregating waste and composting. If you have an area for it, you may want to designate a small portion for composting. This is all the more beneficial for businesses that are in the farming or food industry. When you’re growing your own crops to sell or use as ingredients, you can save on fertilizer expense by having natural compost coming from the waste from your business’ administration or management office. Better yet, you’re also coming up with organic products as you’re also now able to forego any unnecessary chemicals. 

It may seem overwhelming to start at first, but it’s actually doable. By having your own compost pit for your business, you’re able to divert some of the waste which would’ve filled and piled landfills even more.  

To start composting, you can make it a practice to collect the following waste products from your offices: 

  • Tissue paper or paper towels coming from the office washroom and pantry; 
  • Biodegradable plates and cutlery during company potluck; 
  • Food scraps; 
  • Hot beverage cups from your office pantry; 
  • Discarded paper products from your office; 
  • Coffee grinds and tea bags. 

Be More Conscious About Your Product Packaging 

This tip applies to those businesses that are wholesalers, manufacturers, or retailers of products. If you’re still using non-biodegradable or non-eco-friendly product packaging at present, it’s a good idea to start being more conscious about your product packaging. This means coming up with new ideas on how you can alter your product packaging to make it more environmental-friendly. 

For instance, perhaps there’s a way for you to cut back on any unnecessary packaging your products now come up with. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, make it a habit also in your business not to discard boxes from suppliers once you’ve opened and received your deliveries. Keep those boxes. You can either use it in the future or there could be some residents in your local area who also hunt businesses to ask for boxes that they can recycle as moving boxes or any other purpose they may have in mind.

Along that line, here are other tips on how you can improve your product packaging, to make it more sustainable:

  • Choose sustainable and biodegradable materials;
  • Use custom-sized packaging, so you’re not packing your goods in boxes or containers which are bigger than they ought to be;
  • Avoid unnecessary packaging by reducing the number of plastic or paper inserts.
  • Use repacking for expired promotional packaging and errors in package printing.

Provide A Decent Coffee Machine In Your Office Pantry

Now, you should know of the positive effects of having a decent coffee machine in your office. First, it has a lot to do with the employee’s wellbeing and happiness where they feel they’re well-loved and taken care of with a simple act as having a pantry to utilize. Office employees need to take lunch and coffee breaks too, and it can be advantageous on their budget when they no longer have to spend on takeaway coffee all the time.

But, the benefits of having a coffee machine in your office pantry actually go beyond that. It can actually encourage less waste in your office as well. Why? When coffee is provided, all your employees will have to do is to bring in their own mugs. This is in lieu of what they may have usually been doing whereby employees who buy takeout coffee, bring in disposable and paper cups and then have them fill up your bins at the end of the day.

Reuse File Folders

Whenever necessary and applicable, make it a point also to reuse file folders, envelopes, and other office supplies which can be reused. There’s no need to bring out a new folder for every new file if there are used but empty folders which you can utilize. All you have to do is to change the label, that’s simple.

This practice may only seem like a very small thing, but it can actually create a significant impact if every single member of your company is on the same page. Not only are you reducing the number of folders you’re throwing away but you’re also able to reduce your office budget spent when more and more reusable office supplies are being used to their maximum life before throwing away.


As pressing as the matter may be, it’s also an undeniable fact that there are still so many businesses and offices who should give it a thought as to how they manage their business waste products. If you’re still one of those offices that are struggling in this area, there’s still so much time and leeway to improve. You’ve already taken the first step of studying and reading through insights like the tips listed above. Now it’s time for you to put all you’ve learned into action and soon enough, your business or office will also start to become more efficient and responsible with your waste.  

Olivia Addison

Olivia Addison is an environmentalist. She’s currently working as an environmental consultant for businesses and organizations, both private and public. When she’s not working for her clients, she loves to share her passion and insights on the environment through blogging. She’s also currently finishing her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies.

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