Much of the time we talk about how, as individuals, we can be more environmentally friendly in our homes, whether it be by recycling more or cutting down waste altogether. Whilst recycling in Australia has generally improved, it’s also important to remember that a significant amount of non-recyclable and recyclable materials still end up in the landfill. We hope to bring more attention to this initiative during National Recycling Week!
In fact, it’s estimated that some 20 million tonnes of rubbish still make their way to landfills every year and it’s clear that alongside recycling we also need to make a conscious effort to reduce waste altogether. Perhaps one solution is to encourage change not only at an individual level but also at an organisational level. One of the most obvious ways we can achieve this outside of our homes is by reducing waste in the workplace. Reducing waste in the office doesn’t have to be a complicated process and there a number of simple changes we can make to significantly reduce waste.
Simple Things Offices Can Do to Cut Down Waste
1. Go Paperless
One way we can reduce waste is by going paperless as much as possible. With today’s tech and programs like Dropbox, the need to print has become relatively obsolete – something that businesses should be taking advantage of. For times when printing is absolutely necessary offices should make sure to use 100% recycled paper and print on both sides. Placing paper recycling bins within arm’s reach is also a good idea to make sure recycling is as easy as possible.
2. Don’t Just Re-cycle, Pre-cycle
Pre-cycling is also an important step in cutting down waste, particularly non-recyclable waste. Offices should choose supplies based on packaging, focusing on products with minimal packaging, made from materials that are easy to recycle.
3. The Office Kitchen
The office kitchen tends to be an area where a lot of waste is produced and thrown out. In order to help combat waste, offices should avoid paper towels by providing tea towels instead. Another simple change offices can make would be providing cutlery for employees in the office so there is no need for disposables. This might mean a bit more washing up but in the long run, is a more cost-effective and worthwhile change.
4. Provide Reusable Cups and Bottles
Here at Publift, employees are provided with reusable coffee cups so that when a hit of caffeine is much needed to beat those afternoon slumps employees can easily bring their cups along rather than relying on disposable cups. This is especially as more and more cafes are participating in the BYO cup initiative where you can get a discount on your coffee by bringing your own cup. Helping the environment whilst getting cheaper coffee? It’s a win-win. Responsible cafes is an especially useful site for finding participating cafes nearby. This can be taken a step further by also providing employees with reusable water bottles to reduce the need for bottled water.
5. Establish a Recycling Program/ System
Once all these steps have taken place, what waste is leftover should be managed responsibly. One way to do this is to create a recycling program for the whole office or even building. This can be done simply by providing bins for returnable and non-returnable bottles, paper and even e-waste. In Sydney the REDcycle initiative has also partnered with supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths to provide bins where you can drop off and recycle your soft plastics (plastic you can scrunch up into a ball), keeping them out of the landfill. Employees can then take this waste to local recycling centres and supermarkets on a rotating basis.
Many of these tips may seem like common sense but they are easier said than done and it’s important to get the whole office on board. To ensure the success of this new system all employees should be educated on how it will work, whether it be through a workshop or even a recycling awareness day. At Publift we are in the initial stages of improving our own recycling program as part of our commitment to building a more sustainable Australia.