Effective Waste Management in the Office

by Lawton Brothers | Feb 25, 2021


Accumulating waste in the office is unavoidable. After all, a lot of paperwork, packages, and materials go into making a successful business. Understanding the types of waste you compile and how to manage them can provide you with a cleaner space and more resources. 

Common Types of Office Waste

Paper and printing products are one of the largest contributions to office waste. These materials are often crucial to the business and cannot be foregone. However, there are still a variety of ways to reduce this production of waste. Start by using both sides of your papers (where possible) and shredding/recycling used pieces. Distribute and store important documents online. 

Office equipment is something that most of us don’t consider when we think of office waste. Of course, as time goes by, we all need updated equipment to do our jobs. This makes electrical equipment and office products a very costly replacement. Consider buying used and cheap furniture to reduce overall waste in the community and save extra money. Choose high-quality equipment – find a balance between cutting cost now versus in the future. A higher quality item may be more expensive initially but will last longer and provide more return on investment in the long run. Additionally, recycle and reuse old items such as desk phones, tape dispensers, and computer monitors. Find out if there are any local recycling centers that would accept these items to avoid landfills. 

Designing a Waste Reduction Program

The first step in reducing your waste is determining how much waste your facility produces. The EPA offers a free and easy, online tool to track not only your waste, but energy and water use over time as well! The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, is designed to benchmark your performance and provide consistent metrics for assessing your activities.

Once you home in on your largest type of waste production, you can start assembling a team. It’s important to involve management as well as team members in this initiative. Set short-term and long-term goals, such as implementing a recycling program for paper products and moving all paperwork digital. Educate coworkers and employees about the importance of recycling and consider placing signs reminding them to take action. Additionally, speak with any janitors or other waste collectors for your space for their cooperation and suggestions. 

Once your team is assembled, brainstorm on different ideas to improve your practices, including recycling, reusing, and donating old items. Depending on your location, there may be certain collection systems and equipment available to assist in your waste management. To find regional and local programs, call your office of solid waste, public works, department of environment, or check out the Recycling Locator

Over time, evaluate your progress and report it to your team using a waste assessment. Use your results to make improvements and motivate other employees to get involved in the process. 

Get Started Today

Improving your business’ waste can reduce cost, improve employee morale, and support the environment. With so many benefits, the only question is how do you get started? Start by calling Lawton Brothers! Let us provide a free green cleaning audit and answer any questions you have about effective waste management. Give us a call today at: 800.432.0813. 

More resources:

SF Environment’s Zero Waste Toolkit for Businesses

Keep America Beautiful

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Reducing Waste

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