Having a completely zero waste office can be a challenge with all the trash and consumption associated with work.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to reduce waste in your office.
Today, we will discuss simple ideas ordinary people can use to be more eco-friendly while remaining productive on their 9-5 job.
So without further ado, below are 13 zero waste office ideas to effectively reduce waste in your workplace and help protect the environment.
You can even help your company save money!
1. Use eco-friendly office products
From using a zero waste pencil to getting eco-friendly earbuds, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to conventional things we use at work.
Look for office products that are manufactured without toxic chemicals that can harm a person and the planet.
Instead, keep an eye for office items made with recycled, sustainable, and eco-friendly materials.
Moreover, opting for high-quality and recyclable office equipment can reduce the amount of garbage your office creates.
2. Reduce paper usage
Get digital versions of work documents and ask your office mates to email them to you instead of printing them on a piece of paper (unless required).
You can also take notes using a notebook or a journal during meetings instead of relying on printouts.
Doing this will save a ton of paper and help keep your office less wasteful and more organized.
It will also minimize electric consumption from using the printer and, of course, save trees.
3. Recycle paper whenever you can
If you need to print something out for work, see if you can print it on trash paper instead of a new one.
You can also politely ask your manager if it is possible to use recycled paper at work.
We know we don’t need to tell you that recycling paper saves many trees, helps preserve natural habitats, and reduces pollution.
4. Eat breakfast at home
Okay, you might be thinking to yourself:
“How is eating my breakfast at home a zero waste office idea?”
Well, eating breakfast at home is an excellent way to avoid single-use plastics.
From takeout food containers, which will then end in your office trash bins and to landfills.
However, we understand that many of us don’t have the time to sit down for breakfast every day.
So an alternative would be to prepare some food the night before.
This way, you will only need to reheat food in the morning or eat it cold.
Another benefit of preparing breakfast before work is that you are eating healthy despite your busy schedule.
You only have one body; take care of it.
And since you won’t have to order takeouts, you can even save money!
5. Pack zero waste snacks
Packing snacks (and even lunch) for work effectively reduce plastic trash in the office.
Many of us can relate that when at work, almost everyone gets snacks and lunch from fast food and cafes – then eating it at our workspaces.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Except for the fact that takeout foods often come in either single-use plastic containers or styrofoam.
Not to mention takeout food is expensive and almost devoid of nutrients that you badly need to function properly in the workplace.
Get a reusable lunch box and use it to pack your snacks and food for work.
6. Bring reusable cutlery
Bringing reusable cutlery is one of the best zero waste office ideas to practice.
This practice helps reduce waste from using single-use and disposable utensils while at work.
Moreover, having your reusable cutlery is also great during special events like birthdays or holidays when your company relies on disposable utensils when serving food to employees.
So regardless if you leave them at your office desk or carry them with you every day in a portable case, consider getting a set of reusable cutlery for work.
7. Practice smart water usage
We’re positive that you are doing your best to save water at home.
You can do the same while at work.
Delivering clean water in offices and homes requires the consumption of energy and natural resources.
Hence, keeping those faucets properly closed when not used is a must!
8. Keep an eye for unnecessary electric consumption
Not wasting electricity is not only eco-friendly but also beneficial for your business.
For starters, less electricity consumed means less electric bills.
So whenever you can, turn unneeded lights off (e.g., in the bathroom) and unplug office gadgets that no one is using.
If your officemates and co-workers notice what you are doing, they might do the same, and it’s a win-win for your company and the planet.
9. Practice green commutes
Driving your car every day to work contributes a lot of carbon emissions.
Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to be more eco-friendly.
For instance, if you’re close enough to your workplace and the weather is fine, consider walking or biking to work!
It will allow you to save money on gas, reduce your carbon footprint, and give you some exercise!
In the event of rain or your office is too far away that walking and biking is not practical, consider carpooling with your office mates that live nearby.
You can also ride the train, bus, or any public transportation options available near you.
Yes, we know that this might sound like a lot of work.
But finding eco-friendly ways to go to the office every day will have a massive environmental impact in the long run and help reduce overall emissions.
In the end, it’s your choice.
10. Reduce your computer monitor’s brightness (if possible)
Reducing your computer monitor’s brightness can save up to 20% of the monitor’s electric consumption.
So if possible, see how much you can reduce your computer monitor’s brightness without affecting your work.
You’ll be surprised that you might have gone down from 100% to 75% brightness, and you won’t even notice the difference.
Besides reducing your monitor’s brightness, make sure to unplug your computer unit before leaving the office.
Plugged-in appliances, even when turned off, still consume electricity.
11. Use hand dryers wisely
Using hand dryers will dramatically reduce waste in the office.
Hand dryers allow employees to dry their hands without using traditional paper towels and toilet paper.
But what if you don’t have hand dryers installed in your office bathroom?
You can politely ask your manager if you can stock bamboo toilet paper instead of paper towels and conventional tps.
Bamboo toilet papers are more eco-friendly compared to tps made from trees.
12. Get a Reusable Water Bottle
Yes, we know you’ve heard this before, which is why we put it at the bottom of this list.
Yet, we couldn’t agree more.
Having a reusable water bottle not only helps save you money but effectively reduces plastic waste created from bottled water or disposable beverage cups.
But don’t just buy the first reusable water bottle you can find.
A smart thing to do would be to invest in an eco-friendly thermal flask for work.
A high-quality thermal flask will let you pack hot or cold beverages every day when going to the office.
13. Find ways to reuse and recycle office trash
Instead of throwing everything away, see if some office “trash” and “wastes” can still be reused or recycled.
You can also ask your manager if it is possible to install recycling bins beside the regular trash bins so you and your workmates can segregate trash at work.
And another good thing about this zero waste office idea that your boss will also love?
Companies pay for trash pickups, whereas facilities picking up recyclables usually are free.
Hence, you will reduce the waste you sent to landfills and save your company some money.
Someone’s building their way to an early promotion!
As you just learned through this post, there are many simple ways an average jane and joe employee can help reduce waste in their workplace.
And by following these 15 zero waste office ideas, you will not only help minimize the waste and pollution created in your workplace.
You can also help save trees, keep harmful chemicals out of the environment, and even save money for you and your company.
So, which of the zero waste office ideas above do you like best?
Do you know other excellent ways to keep your workplace zero waste?