The easiest way to reduce office waste is to avoid creating it in the first place. Of course, the advent of electronic communication has helped businesses decrease waste substantially, but there’s always room for improvement.
Mailing bulk materials to the wrong address or sending newsletters to people who are no longer customers is a major source of paper waste. Verify customers’ and vendors’ contact information after each transaction will help you stay on top of changes.
Say It Through E-Mail
E-mail and instant messaging make interoffice communications quicker and easier than distributing paper memos. E-mail newsletter distribution means your customers receive information about your business sooner. E-mail is a great way to send coupons as well, since recipients can decide if they want to print them or not. Your company can use social media similarly, by offering promo codes and discounts for mentioning tweets and other messages from your business.
Making Paper Cuts
Print and copy on both sides of the paper whenever possible, and post instructions near the copy machine and printers to eliminate excuses. Or consider making this the default option on office equipment. Use a smaller font to print documents when possible. Reduce junk mail in a variety of ways. Contact Dun & Bradstreet (dnb.com) and Info USA (http://infousa.com/) to be removed from their business marketing lists. Contact individual companies from whom you consistently receive junk mail to find out how to opt out of future offers.
Use It Again
In situations where maintaining your corporate image is not necessary, re-use envelopes. Cover your address with a mailing label, or buy specially designed labels that identify the envelope as “recycled.” This habit may even boost your company’s image as a “green” business. When you receive packages, keep bubble wrap and other packing materials for re-use.
Think Before You Buy
Ask employees to bring in their own mugs instead of stocking the break room with styrofoam cups. Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible, and buy recycled printer ink. Plan carefully when purchasing perishable items, like certain office supplies. Plan similarly when buying kitchen supplies, and even when ordering food for meetings and events. Bulk purchases can save your business money, but wasting supplies is never an efficient use of your company’s funds.
Some of these tips require participation from everyone in the office. Make everyone aware of your company’s efforts to reduce waste, and let them know how they can stay involved on a daily basis. Send an e-mail announcing your plans, and post reminder signs at appropriate places in the office when applicable.