Every year, the average office employee throws away a staggering 360 pounds of paper. Because paper is one of the most easily recyclable materials, this means that there’s more trash heading to landfills than there needs to be. And when you consider that the United States is the world’s biggest producer of solid waste — contributing 30% of landfill waste worldwide and 11 billion tons of trash each year — you can see that the problem is getting out of control.
The green movement is taking off in our homes, but we can’t forget about the workplace, too. Even your office can do its part for the planet through litter prevention programs. By letting your workers know about the importance of recycling, you can see a cleaner workplace and reduce the amount of waste produced at work. Here are a few ideas you can use to get started:
1. Stock the office with recycling bins for paper and plastic. Just as you use home recycling bins for your paper, plastic, metal, and glass, you can do the same thing at work. Place paper recycling bins by your copiers and fax machines, so those extra pages don’t wind up in the trash. You can even put a recycling bins for glass and plastic containers in your employee break room, so workers with soda or other drinks don’t toss the bottles in the trash.
2. Use Do Not Litter signs and bins outside. Sometimes, trash doesn’t even make it to the landfill; it ends up in the environment instead! Using Do Not Litter signs outside your building can let employees, customers, and passersby that you’re making steps to stay environmental. Do Not Litter signs are also good to place on an outdoor trashcan, and you can alert people to the presence of these bins with your signs. (Another good tip is to have an ashtray outside, too, if you have employees who take smoke breaks near the building.
3. Go paperless when you can. With the advent of the internet, the need for paper bills and correspondence has decreased significantly over the past decade. Take advantage of these practices if you’re able to, and you may also see cost savings on paper, postage, and printing materials. For interoffice correspondence, stick to email instead of paper memos when you can.
4. Encourage employees to do their part. There are plenty of going green ideas that you can pass on to your workers! Encourage employees to use hand dryers in the restroom and break room instead of paper towel. Tell workers to bring their lunch in reusable containers or drink water out of reusable bottles, so they’re not wasting paper bags or plastic containers. You can even use these efforts as a morale booster and hold contests with prizes for the “greenest” employees and departments.
Have more suggestions for a green office — or want more ideas? Leave a comment below! Links like this: askhrgreen.org