There are 5 steps to Zero Waste in your office
-(refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover)
– and these steps follow a very deliberate pecking order (or hierarchy), starting with the most important step (refuse) and ending with the “least important” step (recover).
Here’s how it works:
- The best idea is not to create any waste in the first place (rethink & refuse).
- If you do create waste, try to make as little as possible (reduce).
- Then try to find other uses for this waste when you want to get it out of your home or workplace (reuse).
- If you can’t find ways to reuse the waste, then make sure you preserve the highest usage value of the resources that are contained in that waste (recycle).
- As a final option, any leftover waste can be used to create new forms of energy or materials (recover).
CUT PAPER WASTE: Use both sides of the page. Print draft reports on the back of used paper. Make double–sided photocopies. Print only the number of copies necessary. Limit the distribution of correspondence & reports to only those who must have hard copies. Set printers/copiers to default to double sided mode.
AVOID PAPER USE: Use email or bulletin boards, or PDFs for sending and receiving information.
PACKAGING : Use minimal or reusable packaging.
For example: re–use packing material, use less packaging, and ship merchandise in returnable/reusable containers.
MAINTAIN EQUIPMENT : Use and maintain durable equipment and supplies. High quality, long–lasting supplies and equipment that can be repaired easily mean fewer discards.
PURCHASE DURABLE ITEMS: Re–use products and supplies. Use durable, reusable products rather than single–use materials. A one–time investment for reusable items ends the frequently expensive cycle of discarding and reordering.
BECOME EFFICIENT: Use office supplies and materials more efficiently. Change company policies and operations to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and conserve materials.
RE-USE SHOP: Set up a re–use area where employees can take unneeded supplies rather than throwing them away and encourage staff to “shop” there. Exchange, sell, or give away unneeded goods for re–use.
FOOD WASTE : Separate food waste and arrange for a food Waste collection for composting. Donate excess food, used furniture, and other materials to local organizations such as homeless shelters or charities.
Every day, we buy things that we may not really need, and throw out stuff that still has a lot of value. There are huge financial and environmental benefits to breaking this pattern. This is what Zero Waste is all about.