As the waste and recycling industry continues to evolve and change, each of us has a responsibility to take control over our own individual environmental footprint. Our team at MASS has been heartened to see so much engagement from the global community, as people around the world make small changes in their daily lives to create less waste. Together, each of these little steps forward have the power to come together as a larger impact.
Beyond our daily lives at home, there is another – just as crucial – space in many of our lives that provides us with a great opportunity for environmental action. As indicated by the title of this blog, we are referring to our places of work.
Whatever your work environment may be, taking action to reduce the waste you generate and divert what’s left from landfill is a key step to true sustainability. Below, we have outlined our TOP 5 TIPS to reduce waste at work. After you’ve finished reading, don’t forget to comment and let us know what actions you and your co-workers have taken to reduce your environmental impact!
Reduce Paper Consumption
In many offices, going completely paperless just isn’t possible. But what can definitely be implemented is a focus on reduction! There are a few key ways to go about this:
- Change the setting on your office printers so that they automatically print everything double-sided (this will cut paper usage in half). Just ensure there is an option to change this setting in case one of your colleagues is putting together a project that requires single-sided printing!
- Put ‘Paper Usage’ on the agenda for your next team meeting. Ask your team to consider whether they are hitting that ‘Print’ button out of habit, or if the documents they are sending to the printer truly need to be in hard-copy form.
- Digitize your inter-office communication! Memos, document sharing, scheduling & more can all be done online! Move towards a digital system for your inter-office communication, and keep hard copy printed documents to the bare minimum.
Start an E-Waste Program
Set a meeting with your IT department to launch a sustainable plan to handle Electronic Waste! This is crucial step to minimizing your environmental footprint. Items to consider include:
- Ink Cartridges & Toners – Most of these will be accepted back by their manufacturer or distributor for recycling. If your office is not already participating in a program like this, ask whoever orders the supplies to inquire about program availability!
- Laptops, Computers, Printers, Cell Phones & More – When your office equipment needs replaced, your old equipment can often be recycled! Investigate local opportunities (our tip: check out not-for-profit groups) in your area. Many organizations are constantly looking for old computer equipment to refurbish, and they will take yours at no charge. Just be sure to have your hard-drive wiped clean (we encourage you to have a professional take care of this) before handing off any IT equipment for recycling.
Start an Office Compost Program
In the face of a changing waste industry, the value of recyclables is declining. As recycling programs become more limited, one way that we can still be sure to have Waste Diversion success is through a compost program. Many regions offer commercial organics pick-up, which is a great option for businesses who wish to collect their food-waste and have it collected by an outside supplier. This is a program that MASS manages for many of our locations across Canada. Another option, however is implementing a compost system right on-site. For small-to-medium sized offices like ours, a
Food Cycler is a great solution! We have one of these set up in the kitchen area of the MASS office! Our team members load their food waste into it throughout the day. Every evening when we leave the office, the lid goes on, and we cycle the unit. When we return the next morning, we have a nutrient-rich soil-amendment that we can use on our own gardens!
Gather Data: Participate in a Waste Audit
One of the most important parts of the MASS Methodology is gathering, analyzing, and applying solutions based off data and evidence. This means that when we launch waste diversion programs, we love to conduct a Waste Audit first, thus giving us a detailed understanding of what the site is generating and sending to (or diverting from) landfill on a daily basis. A Waste Audit is your first step towards waste diversion success. We often say: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” and we truly believe this to be true! In Ontario, many businesses are actually regulated to complete Waste Audits on an annual basis by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Learn more about how your workplace may benefit by participating in a Waste Audit by
contacting us today.
Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!
Look around your workplace, and take a visual inventory on what type of garbage you can see being generated. Are people drinking out of plastic water bottles? Or perhaps there are a few too many disposable coffee cups filling your waste bin. Gather your team together to discuss what you see, and what practices you could enact as a team to minimize the amount of garbage you are actually creating. At MASS, we have eliminated disposable coffee cups and water bottles from our office (we have a water cooler and coffee pot with water glasses and coffee mugs available at all times!), and consistently review what types of one-time use packaging is being brought into our office. Whenever we see a problem we work together to find a solution. While it may not all happen today, change is a work in progress; and we are proud of the direction our office is headed in!
At MASS, we always say: Change Begins With Just One Step! We believe that taking just one of these steps will help you and your co-workers to create a more sustainable office environment one day at a time. Comment below and let us know what actions you have taken to reduce waste at your workplace. We would love to hear from you!
All Photos Used On This Blog Post Are From: https://unsplash.com/