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Recycling and reducing waste in the workplace

‘Go green’ in your work environment effectively through waste management. An environmentally-friendly office can reduce your carbon footprint. By managing where waste goes, your workplace can decrease landfill waste by up to 90% [4]. There are several changes that can be put in place to save the environment by recycling and reducing waste while saving money.

It all starts with you. Rally your team together to cut down the use of plastic by not purchasing single-use plastic bottles [5]. Use refillable water bottles at work to reduce your company’s global impact. Most plastic water bottles end up in landfill and littering waterways [5] Invest in a refillable water bottle or cooler to save money and the number of plastic bottles thrown out.

Be environmentally conscious in your workplace and upgrade the recycling and bin system to ensure appropriate recycling practices are in place, to save energy and lessen waste. As a team use eco-friendly substitutions to eliminate waste [3]. Australians dispose of approximately 3.1 million tonnes of edible food each year [2]. Reduce food waste so it doesn’t find itself in landfill releasing methane - a damaging greenhouse gas [5]. Take advantage of reusable containers for your lunch and invest in cutlery for all staff to reuse instead of using take-away single-use plastic tableware.

According to National Recycling Week Organisation (2016) [3], by having recycling bins at each workstation, paper recycling rates have increased from 28% to 94%. In addition, by switching to electronic communications for invoicing and archiving etc, it can help reduce carbon emissions by decreasing paper consumption [5]. Similarly, by taking part in an initiative called ‘Friday File Fling’ the team can organise good value paper out of old files that won’t be used again and recycle it to make new paper, instead of wasting it [1]. The use of paper in an office can be the single largest supplier of waste in a workplace [5]. A simple printing policy can mitigate the consumption of paper within a team. Instate a double-sided printing policy by altering the default setting on all computers to save paper [5].

Recycling print cartridges is another step toward your business ‘going green’. Free systems like Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, initiates recycling activity in your workplace. The program provides Australians with an easy-to-use, environmentally-accredited process to recycle used printer cartridges [1]. Support the collection and return of cartridges for remanufacturing and recycling to keep them from landfill and oceans [1].

Recycling and reducing unnecessary waste in your workplace is simple yet effective. Green-house gas emissions and global warming affects the world, but it all starts with you, can you make a difference with your colleagues? Educate staff of new environmentally-friendly policies that can be employed and accept feedback now and, in the future, to reduce, reuse and recycle!


Sources

1. Cartridges 4 Planet Ark. (2018). 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark'. [online] Available at: https://cartridges.planetark.org/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2018].


2. Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/food-waste [Accessed 6 Sep. 2018].


3. National Recycling Week Planet Ark (2016). How do we make recycling at work, work? [online] Available at: https://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/recyclingatwork.cfm [Accessed 3 Sep. 2018].


4. Sustainability.vic.gov.au. (2018). [online] Available at: http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/-/media/resources/documents/publications-and-research/knowledge-archive/resource-smart-government-program/archive-rs-recycling-and-reusing-in-your-workplace-jun-2008.pdf?la=en [Accessed 3 Sep. 2018].


5. Your Energy Savings. (2018). At work—what can I do? [online] Available at: http://yourenergysavings.gov.au/guides/work-what-can-i-do [Accessed 4 Sep. 2018].


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