Many modern offices have taken strides towards greener operations, particularly when it comes to recycling efforts. But did you know that you may get more benefit, both environmentally and fiscally, by electing to reuse items rather than sending them out to be recycled? At some point this may be the only option left to you, but until then you can start to give all kinds of items a second life within the office environment, cutting down waste and saving you money. And if you’re on the lookout for a few good items to add to your list of reusable options, here are some that are sure to make your office a little bit greener.
- Ink and toner cartridges. It’s easy enough to toss your old ink and toner cartridges into the trash after they’ve given all they can to your printers and copy machines. But most of these products can be recycled, refilled, and reused. In truth, you probably don’t want to try to refill them yourself, but you can send them in for recycling. Many websites will not only take your used cartridges, but they’ll even pay you for them (although payments range from only a few cents to a few dollars per product). In some cases, you can even order recycled (refilled) cartridges, as well. You might also go to a store like Walgreens that will refill any cartridges you bring in for a small fee, or check out the remanufactured options offered by Costco.
- Envelopes. Your office probably gets plenty of snail mail, and if you don’t want to use new envelopes for outgoing mail you can certainly slap new labels on old envelopes and tape the flaps closed. By using letter openers you can avoid the ragged edges that tearing open the flap will create. Or if you’re worried about the impression this might make on clients and vendors, consider using old envelopes for inter-office mail instead of purchasing new products for the purpose.
- Packaging. Any time boxes arrive full of peanuts, bubble wrap, or other packing materials, have your mail room save the innards to reuse for your own shipping purposes. You might also use scrap paper, magazines, and other office waste as packing materials.
- Batteries. While there might not be a lot of items around the office that call for batteries rather than electrical charging, the items that do can be the focus of your efforts towards reusability. Instead of purchasing standard batteries that have to be tossed when they run out of juice, invest in rechargeable batteries and chargers to cut back on wasted materials. Yes, they’ll still require electrical usage, but if your office runs on renewable energy this practice will do a lot less harm than constantly purchasing new batteries.
- Outdated business cards. It can be tempting to toss boxes of old business cards along with hotel coupons that have long since expired, but stay your hand. Just because you can get new cards on the cheap with deals from webcouponcodes.com doesn’t mean you should toss the old ones. Instead, use them in place of sticky notes to take down messages, write reminders, and lay out your bullet points for upcoming presentations. So many small items can be reused around the office in order to cut waste if only you put on your thinking hat and get creative. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and it can lead to a greener future for all of us.