Maintaining cleanliness in the workplace is already hard work in itself. This is exacerbated by the unmanageable waste your staff produces on a daily basis. And sometimes, even with the help of professional office cleaners, these wastes can be hard to deal with.
However, the good thing is, even though it is hard, managing wastes is not impossible. In fact, there are even ways to achieve zero waste in the workplace. The 4 R’s below will tell you how:
The 4 R’s for Zero Waste in the Workplace
To reduce waste in the office, you simply have to refuse using objects that produce waste. Avoid using disposable products such as paper cups, plastic utensils, plastic wrappers and others. Bring your own ceramic mugs and silverware in the office and leave them there for your daily use instead. Also, use reusable food containers to pack your lunches for work.
This first R is the simplest, but the hardest thing to do. That is because we are so used to using things that make our life convenient. However, “refusing” will allow you to truly produce zero waste every day. Instead of having to throw paper cups each time you go for a coffee break, you only have to wash a mug and a spoon. You can also wash your food container after a meal, and you can use it again on the next day.
As we have pointed out earlier, opting for reusable objects will help you reduce your office waste to zero. Moreover, aside from reducing waste, it will also allow you to save money and resources.
Take the example with plastic cups. Imagine how much money you can save by using a mug than by plastic cups. With the latter, you only do not have to waste money on buying the coffee powder, sugar and creamer, but you also have to throw away money for plastic cups. On the other hand, when you have a mug to wash after each use, you only have to worry about buying the ingredients every time you run out.
To give you more examples, here are other things you can opt for instead of using disposable products:
- Choose for cloth bags over paper bags
- Use handkerchiefs instead of tissue paper
- Use stainless steel food containers for your snack and lunches rather plastic wrappers/ disposable lunch bags
Repurposing means taking an object and using it as something else. This R can be a little bit challenging to do as it requires creativity and innovation. But repurposing does not have to be something big. You can take simple objects such as plastic bottles and using them as pen containers or vases for indoor plants. You can also use old cartons and boxes as storage boxes. Whatever it is, repurposing can help you a lot to achieve zero waste in the office.
Now, this R is something we know very well. It is even the most popular way to reduce waste anywhere. It has been taught to us since we are little kids in school and has been encouraged in public areas through signages. However, despite its popularity, it hardly practiced by everyone. A lot of times, when we throw a recyclable material it goes straight into landfills instead of being converted into raw materials for new products.
To do this in the workplace, simply put up different bins for different types of trash. Encourage your staff to put recyclable products in the right bin. Then send that bin to recycling centers so they can be processed into new raw materials. Also, put up signages near the bin indicating the only types of items that can be put in it. Some of these include:
- Containers made of glass and aluminum
- Paper products
- Plastic containers
If you think about it, reducing waste to the point of zero is actually very easy to do. What makes it hard is having to let go of a little bit of convenience. It may be hard at first, but when you make these 4 R’s into a habit, you will see that it is actually a breeze. It will only be effortless on your part, it will also yield positive effects on the environment and, more importantly, to your pocket.