Waste Prevention around the Office

Preventing and reducing waste around the office can help to decrease your organization’s impact on the environment. As the world is becoming more eco-conscious, these factors can separate businesses apart from the competition, and they can attract environmentally savvy employees. Additionally, implementing a business waste management plan can ultimately help your business to save money, as you will be able to recycle and reuse materials. Some important tips for preventing waste in your workplace are outlined below.


In order to reduce your organizational waste, try to eliminate paper files and move toward an electronic system. Set your printers and photocopiers to automatically print double-sided copies, and take steps needed to fight off the amount of junk mail that your organization receives.

Reducing your packaging can also be helpful, and try selecting products from manufacturers and suppliers that utilize minimal packaging. If possible, reuse any packing materials that you are sent so that you can utilize them when you need to mail something out.


In order to minimize your organizational waste, recycle aluminum cans, paper, plastic, and glass. Start a recycling program where you can recycle papers that do not contain sensitive information. Also, you cannot consider yourself to be recycling if you send your products off to be recycled but you don’t purchase any recycled content products, so you should know where you can purchase certain products that your business needs that are made from recycled materials.


There are a variety of things that you can reuse within your business. Reuse envelopes whenever possible, and if you are part of a large business, try routing around intra-agency envelopes rather than sending out additional mail. Buy recycled paper and toner cartridges, and invest in battery chargers and rechargeable batteries for certain electronic devices.

Why is Waste Reduction Important?

Every business is responsible for generating a certain amount of waste. Some businesses may only generate dirty water or waste paper, while others may create toxic or hazardous wastes that need to undergo special disposal and handing. Whatever volume or type of waste your business creates, it is all costing your business money. Additionally, you will be paying for the waste twice, as it has costs associated with it both when you purchase and when you throw it away. Therefore, waste reduction is important because it will ultimately save you and your business money.

Waste prevention and reduction can be found in a variety of forms, the most popular of which include:

  • Reducing packaging amounts.
  • Implementing a recycling process.
  • Conserving energy and water.
  • Using materials that are free of toxins.
  • Purchasing materials that are strong, long lasting, and durable.
  • Eliminating the use of raw materials that do not make it into your final service or product.

By preventing waste, your company, regardless of its size, will benefit. In addition to the money you will save, you will also reduce liability, enhance your community image, and improve employee safety. Many efforts in waste reduction are simple to implement, and they may include activities as simple as using email messages instead of printing copies or utilizing two-sided printing. Additionally, your business may also avoid government approvals and permits if the eliminated waste is regulated under the law.

Business waste management is also important for your community as a whole, and overall, it is just the right thing for your company to do. Preventing excess waste will make your community and neighborhood safer by preventing pollution. Your company will also establish itself as being concerned with making your community into a healthy place to live, and by establishing yourself as a good citizen you will reap lasting and immeasurable rewards for your business.

How Businesses Can Reduce Their Waste

Waste reduction is one of the first steps in an effective commercial waste disposal and management plan. It focuses on preventing the generation of solid waste by changing packaging, purchasing, and products. Commercial businesses that focus on waste reduction will need to design, produce, use, or purchase materials that will lower the toxicity volume of their waste before it enters the waste stream. By reducing waste, businesses in the commercial sector can save money on disposal costs and can also make changes to processes that will, ultimately, help their bottom line. Some tips for how businesses can work to reduce waste are discussed below.


  • Use mailbags and boxes that are reusable when shipping items to branch offices and warehouses.
  • Ship items to customers in boxes received from suppliers.
  • Reuse packaging materials and encourage your customers to reuse the materials.
  • Create a system for cardboard box returns so distributors can reuse them.


  • Develop guidelines for purchasing that encourage waste management.
  • In order to optimize ordering, track the usage of materials.
  • Order supplies by email or voice mail when available.
  • Avoid the purchase of deep toned or bright paper.
  • To eliminate unneeded purchases, centralize your purchasing procedures.


  • Put retreaded tires on vehicles used for company use and rotate them regularly.
  • Purchase remanufactured or pre-owned office equipment.
  • Try renting instead of purchasing equipment that may only be used once in a while.
  • Put in energy efficient instead of incandescent lighting.


  • Remove your name from unwanted mailing lists.
  • Use recycled materials for inter- and intra-office communications, such as pens, pencils, paper, and cork boards.
  • Invest in programs that allow you to fax items directly from a computer. Also send items via email rather than printing and faxing a copy.
  • Use reusable or two-way envelopes whenever appropriate.