Reducing your Waste in the Workplace

workplace waste small

Hi y’all!

I’m Kathryn from Going Zero Waste. This is my second post in the “Reduce
your Waste” series I’m doing with The Homesteading Hippy. Today we’re going
to talk about reducing your waste in the workplace.

I’m a professional actor, but I also work at a green print shop.

Being and actor is a whole different beast, so I want to focus on your basic work environment. Where I work we have several desks, a small kitchen area, a water fountain, and a bathroom. I imagine at one point in time most of you have worked in a similar environment. So, here’s my top ten tips for you.

1. Recycling Only:

Convert your desk trash can into a recycle bin. The only thing that arrives at my desk is paper. Lots of paper. So, I turned my trash can into a recycle bin. The boys that empty my can know it’s recycling ONLY. My trash can is never lined. If you have something at your desk that isn’t recyclable, I’m sure there’s a trash can nearby – maybe in the hall?


2. Water Break:

Get a large glass cup or jar to fill up at the water fountain. I keep a 32oz mason jar on my desk. So, I don’t have to constantly get up and down to fill it.

I drink about 96oz of water a day. If used a regular sized glass I would have to get up 8 times. I get really busy at my desk and far too distracted to do that. Invest in a larger cup, so you’re still drinking lots of water.

Same thing applies for the coffee machine. I’ll typically have a cup of coffee or several cups of tea.

3. Real Dishwear:

THIS. In our little kitchen area, I have a couple of plates, bowls, and some silverwear. I picked it up really cheap at the thrift store, and it lives at work. If we have cake, I’m covered.

Neighbors having a BBQ, we’re there with plates in hand. Food truck is down the street, BYOP. This avoids so much waste! When I see people tossing the paper plates, it makes me really sad. It takes about 30 seconds to wash a plate.


4. Carpooling:

Do you have someone who lives close to you? Can you carpool or ride your bike or walk? I carpool every morning, unless either of us have a dentist or doctor’s appointment. Some larger companies even have ride share programs. Maybe you could even set one up!

5.Print Double Sided:

You knew this one was coming. If you have to print out lots of paper, and I’m sure you do. Try to make most of it double sided.

6. Pack a Lunch:

It is way cheaper to pack your lunch than it is to buy it out every day. Most everyone I work with goes out to lunch everyday. It always entails lots of packaging and Styrofoam, plus it has to be expensive! I go out 2-3 times a month as a treat.

My average tab is $8-12. Which means on average each person is spending an extra $2,600 a year! That’s a nice vacation. I would much rather eat a healthier, waste-free, packed lunch and go on a nice vacation – wouldn’t you?


7.Get the Office to Recycle:

Try to get your work place involved in recycling and composting! If you’re city offers either; it’s typically free. We have designated recycle bins all around the workplace, but the city we work in doesn’t compost.

So, I save my compost to take home to my worms. If it’s something large my worms can’t handle, I put it in the freezer for when I see my friends with municipal compost.

8. Handkerchiefs:

I love to be office granny. I always have a handkerchief in my bag… or up my sleeve. And, it’s much more elegant in my opinion.

9. Ditch Paper Towels:

I have a hand towel hanging in the bathroom at work. I have a couple of hand towels in the kitchen. We use them all over the shop for cleaning.

So, I just folded a couple and keep them in other areas at work too. This way you don’t have to use paper towels to dry your hands. You can also use that hanky up your sleeve, or wipe them on your clothes.


10. Plant a Plant:

I love my plant friends at work. They freshen the air I breathe, and if I have left over water in my glass at the end of the day, they get to drink up. They brighten the room so much!

And, on the same note – get outside! I go for a walk every day on my lunch break. It’s only a 10 minute walk, but it’s nice to get out in the fresh air and stretch. It will improve your mood greatly!

11. Ditch Snail Mail

In this day and age, it’s less and less common to receive snail mail… but it happens. If you’re still getting it, you’re probably so used to it, you’ve never wondered whether you can ditch it in favor of e-mail.

12. Recycle Electronics

Electronics devices contain toxic substances such as mercury and lead. Do whatever you can to recycle them. For instance, you may be able to trade dispose of your old printer when purchasing a new one – the company selling you the new one may be able to dispose of the old one for you. Just ask!

13. Use reusable Coffee Cups

You may be asking yourself: why bother? Coffee cups are made of paper, and paper is bio-degradable. Still, the lining on coffee cups is made of plastic. Shy see if you can get an reusable coffee cup.

You can follow along with me at my on instagram, bloglovin’, or Facebook.

updated July 19th 2019

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